ONE of the driving forces in the Australian cotton industry, Auscott Limited, is up for sale for the first time to offer the new owner a footprint in three of New South Wales’ and Australia’s biggest cotton-growing valleys.
The portfolio is expected to fetch more than $500 million, and comprises cotton production, processing and warehousing assets, and classing and marketing operations.
It represents one of Australia’s largest land, water and infrastructure agribusinesses, and includes 22,000 hectares of developed irrigation land out of a total land area of 40,000ha, and more than 143,000 megalitres of water entitlements.
It is being offered for sale by J.G. Boswell Company through financial advisers PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Auscott owns and operates gins at Trangie and Warren in the Macquarie Valley, Hay in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, and a twin gin at Narrabri in the Namoi Valley, where Auscott began with a 2800ha property in 1963.
Auscott gins are spread across northern, central and southern NSW, and have an annual ginning capacity of more than 1 million bales.
The company owns warehousing operations and a classing laboratory, all supported by an established domestic and international marketing business.
“Following the successful sale of the Auscott Midkin Aggregation at Moree last year, the interest in Auscott has continued and, after much consideration, the parent JG Boswell Company has decided to seek formal expressions of interest for the entire Auscott entity,” Auscott managing director and chief executive officer Ashley Power said.
“We respect our place within the community and value our relationship with our grower customers.
“It is our people that set Auscott apart; we have the right skills and experience at every point in the value chain with a dedication and passion for excellence that makes Auscott so valuable.
“We are now looking for an investor that shares these values and to continue the growth of the company.”
The Boswell family has been a major cotton grower in California since the 1920s, and expanded into the burgeoning Australian cotton industry in 1963 by backing two farmers from Arizona who relocated to Narrabri.
“We have stood together with growers, employees and the community over 57 years to build a cotton industry that is truly world class,” J.G. Boswell Company chairman and CEO James W. Boswell said.
“Now is the right time for the J.G. Boswell Company to focus our efforts on opportunities in our core operations in California.”
PwC is calling for first-round offers on Auscott by 12 August.