In a deal stitched up just in time for AgQuip, Bredal Australia is changing hands.
Jorn Ib has been importing the “simple, precise, reliable” spreaders from Scandinavia for 18 years and is passing the baton to Ben Nichols.
The story began 25 years ago when Danish-born Mr Ib moved to Australia. He had been a farm mechanic and agricultural teacher in Denmark and wanted to do something different.
A good friend in Denmark asked Mr Ib to look after a farm in York, Western Australia.
There he ran a cropping enterprise and exported hay to Japan and Malaysia for six years. He also bought his own farm and leased more land, totalling 1200 hectares.
The owners sold the original farm but Mr Ib loved Australia so much he stayed on and began his own business.
“When I was running the farm I used a local spreader but I knew the Bredal product when I was a teacher in Denmark, and thought it was a good idea to import the machinery from Scandinavia,” he said. ”I was the single biggest client in the world, importing about 33 per cent of the product.”
Mr Nichols worked on a Gunnedah farm 10 years ago and drove across the country to buy a spreader from Mr Ib.
“Every time he moved to another farm, he bought one of my spreaders,” Mr Ib said.
“When I wanted to slow down, everyone knew the business was for sale. I know Ben and he asked me to do a deal where I will stay on with him for the next few years to support him.”
Mr Nichols stopped farm management five years ago and moved into the retail side of farm machinery.
“Jorn had asked me if I could help out with service work and sales as a back-up across all the eastern states,” Mr Nichols said. “I thought I could develop a role for Bredal in the east, and in April he said he would sell the business to me. From there we worked out a deal and finalised on Monday (the day before AgQuip started).”
Mr Ib has stayed on part of his farm, selling part of the property to Mr Nichols and leasing out the rest.
“When I first started I sold one spreader a year, and now I sell about 70 a year,” Mr Ib said. “In the past 10 years I have seen a 15 per cent growth every year.”
Mr Nichols had a lot of positive feedback at the field days.
“Spreaders are a premium product and we are seeing renewed interest in spreaders, particularly with soil amendments,” he said.
“People used to spread fertilisers in spreaders but now they use lime and gypsum. People are looking for high quality spreaders like Bredal to handle multiple products.
“I’m excited to be working with dealerships to create a network on the east coast like we have on the west coast.”
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