Gavilon in agreement to acquire DeBruce Companies

by Josh Sosland
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OMAHA — Gavilon, L.L.C. will acquire DeBruce Companies under a definitive agreement between the companies announced Oct. 19. With the agreement, Gavilon will acquire the DeBruce grain handling facilities, fertilizer distribution network, feed mills and bean crushing plant. The transaction would nearly double Gavilon’s U.S. grain storage capacity.

DeBruce has combined grain storage capacity of more than 140 million bus with elevators in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, Wisconsin and Mexico. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Gavilon said a November closing date was anticipated, subject to regulatory approvals.

Gavilon said Paul DeBruce, founder and chief executive officer, will continue to serve in his current role and will join Gavilon’s board of directors. Larry Kittoe, DeBruce chief operating officer, will continue to serve in his current role.

“We are pleased to make this announcement with DeBruce and are enthusiastic about the potential this strategic combination will offer our customers, suppliers and employees,” said Greg Heckman, president and c.e.o. of Gavilon. “This transaction will result in a company that is extremely well-positioned to meet rapidly growing demand for agricultural resources worldwide, by expanding our North American footprint and nearly doubling access to supply.”

Mr. DeBruce described Gavilon and DeBruce as “highly complementary.” “Each has a variety of operating and service-offering strengths to contribute to the combined entity,” he said. “Identifying and leveraging best practices will enable us to aggressively compete as one of the leading commodity management firms and the third largest grain storage network in the U.S., while enhancing the services we provide our customers and suppliers.”

According to the 2010 Grain & Milling Annual published by Sosland Publishing Co., DeBruce is the seventh largest grain company in the United States. Its listing in the directory estimated grain storage capacity at 122 million bus (excluding grain storage in Mexico). Since the directory was published, DeBruce has announced a number of facility expansion projects.

A commodity management business spun off from ConAgra in 2008, Gavilon operates more than 200 facilities and regional offices worldwide. The Grain & Milling Annual placed Gavilon as the nation’s sixth largest grain company, with 135 million bus of grain storage capacity.

Following the acquisition, Gavilon will have more than 260 million bus of combined grain storage capacity and will be smaller only than Archer Daniels Midland Co. (542 million bus) and Cargill (344.2 million).

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