17 July 1998

Genus takes over consultant outfit

GENUS, the farmer-owned firm, has been on the acquisition trail, snapping up overseas consultants Hunting Technical Services.

HTS, which employs 70 people and turns over nearly £8m, comes with an £830,000 price tag.

Since its establishment in 1953, it has worked on about 1300 projects in 130 countries in areas such as survey, drainage and erosion.

The deal, which sees HTS acquired debt-free, brings much synergy, says Genus chief executive Richard Wood. Existing technology will be put to use in the non-UK dairy market and HTS know-how will be applied in the UK.

It marks another step in Genuss plans to diversify away from its traditional core area, breeding. This, it says, is a shrinking market, with dairy cow numbers falling 4% in 1997/98.

"If the dairy business gets a cold, so do we," says Mr Wood. "We need to diversify to survive."

The deal follows acquisitions last year of Scottish Livestock Services and Hylton Nomis.

And more could be on the way. "The money came out of our war-chest – and theres still a lot left," says Mr Wood.