WGI Westman Group has acquired the manufacturing assets from a competitor in the grain bin business.
The parent company of Meridian and Behlen has bought Norstar Manufacturing’s grain bin production assets, land and buildings in Morris, Manitoba, as well as Norstar’s bin and tank manufacturing assets in Aylmer, Ontario.
WGI president and CEO Paul Cunningham says they approached Norstar about the deal.
“It’s been a tough go in the agricultural industry for quite a while, and it’s tough to be all things at once, so I think it just made sense for the Norstar guys,” he says in the conversation below.
Norstar will continue to build its chain conveyors and bucket elevators at Rosenort, however Cunningham says WGI has also entered into a sales agreement with Norstar. Meridian will market Norstar’s conveyors and elevators for seed and fertilizer sites, he explains.
Manufacturing of Meridian fuel tanks and small grain bins will be moved from Winkler to the Norstar production plant in Morris.
The financial terms of the arrangement were not made public.
The Norstar deal is WGI’s third acquisition involving a competing manufacturer this year, after the company bought conveyor-maker Elias Reliabelt in spring and Convey-All Industries in July.
Although the consolidation under WGI’s umbrella has occurred quickly, Cunningham says conversations with these companies started years ago.
He says sales are “waking up right now” with harvest beginning, but overall demand is still sluggish.
“I don’t know when it’s going to be over, but I do know we’re really well-positioned to weather this storm and to be there for our customers…”
Prior to the Norstar transaction, between Meridian, Behlen, Westman Steel, Canada Culvert and its other subsidiaries, WGI had 29 manufacturing, sales and distribution locations in North America.