Scott Technology buys French business

In use at 79 sites in France and Uruguay at present; pictured, beef being processed in a South Island freezing works. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
In use at 79 sites in France and Uruguay at present; pictured, beef being processed in a South Island freezing works. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Niche Dunedin engineering and robotics company Scott Technology has announced the 100% purchase of French business Normaclass, specialising in automated beef grading, for an undisclosed sum.

Earlier this month Scott’s chairman Stuart McLauchlan said its more than six-year acquisition phase was ‘‘virtually complete’’, when announcing its half-year result to February.

Scott’s cash war chest has been spent, falling from $26.7million as at August last year, to zero, as several final payments for acquisitions fell due.

In a market statement yesterday, Mr McLauchlan said an ‘‘agreement in principle’’ had been reached with French company Normaclass, which has a 75% market share in France, and settlement was expected in May.

Normaclass, which has just three staff, has 50 installations in the French red meat sector, and is completing the roll-out of a further 29 in Uruguay.

The Normaclass system uses digital cameras to collect data on each carcass, to classify meat to regulatory standards.

Normaclass’ relationships in France and Uruguay are expected to help showcase Scott developments, including its robotic boning, bandsaw safety and finished product logistics developments.

‘‘Normaclass will greatly add to this effort, both with an established production market, along with helping to advance our wider research and development investigations in this area,’’ he said.

Mr McLauchlan said while Normaclass’ earnings were ‘‘modest’’, compared to the overall group, they were expected to be ‘‘immediately earnings accretive’’; in contributing to revenue and profit from the point of purchase.

Revenue for its half-year to February rose by 65% to $111.4million, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 33% to $8.47million and after-tax profit rose 62% to $5.07million.

Mr McLauchlan said at the time the fast revenue growth was driven 50% by the acquisitions of recent years, and 15% by the organic in-house company growth.

He maintained Scott could deliver on its business objectives, based on the company having a strong forward order book and sales pipeline.

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