Cervus Equipment sold to Canadian company Brandt with great expectations

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The company that grew by buying everything in its path has itself been taken over in a private equity deal that makes it the biggest John Deere dealer in the world

Brandt Tractor claims to be the largest John Deere dealership in the world following its recent Cervus Equipment buy-out giving it a tally of 120 full-service equipment yards

Canadian equipment supplier Cervus Equipment, with ten dealerships across Victoria, is the subject of a takeover by fellow Canadian company Brandt Tractor, part of Brandt Industries.

Brandt has acquired all the issued and outstanding common shares of Cervus, excluding those held by Brandt, for $19.50 per share in cash, valuing Cervus at approximately $302 million on an equity value basis.

The buy-out represents a 37% per cent premium to average price of Cervus’ shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange at the time of the offer.

Brandt Tractor confirmed the Cervus Equipment Corp take-over was completed following a 97.66% endorsement for the deal on 12 October with a vote by Cervus shareholders. The transaction sees publicly traded Cervus transition to 100% private ownership in an all-cash deal.

The take-over creates Canada’s largest-ever equipment dealer network, adding 64 agriculture, transportation, and material handling equipment locations to Brandt’s existing John Deere Construction & Forestry dealerships across Canada. When fully integrated, it will give Cervus’ customers access to Brandt’s extensive national parts and technical support infrastructure.

The purchase further establishes Brandt’s position as a premier privately held Canadian company and it also claims to be the largest John Deere dealership in the world with 120 full-service equipment dealerships.

“The addition of Cervus’ branch network is a big win for customers in all of the affected markets,” says Brandt owner and CEO, Shaun Semple. “We’ve got a lot to offer and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and earn the loyalty of our new customers through a combination of premium products and services and a consistent, high-quality customer support experience.”

The deal gives Brandt unparalleled market penetration, expanding their geographical footprint and enabling the company to add, in select markets, John Deere agricultural equipment; Peterbilt transportation equipment; and Clark, Sellick, JLG, Baumann and other material handling equipment in addition to their already-impressive list of products and services.

With the acquisition of the Cervus locations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Brandt now owns and operates 120 full-service equipment dealerships with an additional 50+ service points and employs over 5,100 people.

Brandt Tractor will now control the ten Cervus dealerships across Victoria, located in Hamilton, Colac, Sunshine, Ballarat, Leongatha, Terang, Maffra, Lilydale, Knoxfield and Pakenham that specialise in John Deere model lines.

The Cervus Equipment name will quickly disappear, and the ten dealerships will trade under the name Brandt Tractor as soon as signwriters get into each yard.

Cervus Equipment first stamped out its patch here in July 2012 with the acquisition of Windmill Ag with five yards covering southern Vic and stepped up to the plate to secure Western Farm Service at Sunshine Vic to build to a six-yard dealership.

Both were long established John Deere dealerships at the time with an estimated revenue for the six locations in excess of au$65 million.

Windmill AG was in operation for over 50 years, since its humble beginnings as a service station in Hamilton Vic. Owner operator Menno Peltzer started dealing in farm machinery with the David Brown, Deutz and Chamberlain badges.

It was in 1976 when Menno took on the John Deere franchise and that thrust the small service station/machinery dealership into the big time. When Paul Thomas came in as a partner in1994, then in 2001 when Menno Peltzer retired from the business, his shares were sold to Phil van Wegen.

Western Farm Service also had a long history as a dealership, chalking up 40 years at the time of the Cervus take-over. It was established as a partnership between Bill Buist and Bob Goulden in 1974 who at the time had a combined experience of 21 years working for both John Deere Lanz Australia and John Deere Limited.

While the business progressed from selling mainly agricultural machinery, it was a major supplier of John Deere residential and commercial mowers, slashers, compact tractors and utility vehicles.

Cervus Equipment worked through its six dealerships until the opportunity came up in September 2020 to acquire the John Deere dealership owned by JB Scott Pty located in North Geelong Vic, making it Cervus Equipment’s seventh yard in Victoria.

Since then, Cervus Equipment relocated the yard to Colac Vic with a grand opening in late 2020.  

Dealer Principal Mike Toth decides to retire at 82-years of age and sells his three Glenmac Sales & Service Pty Ltd yards to Cervus equipment, now to be rebranded Brand Tractor – shown here is current Cervus Equipment Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Tim Ormrod, with Mike and Hermine Toth, and Cervus Equipment General Manager for Australia, Brad Fisher

More recently the ink is still drying on the deal 82-year-old dealer principal Mike Toth signed to sell his three Glenmac Sales & Service Pty Ltd yards to Cervus equipment.

With a settlement date of 27 October 2021, the Glenmac yards selling John Deere will retain their current footprint of dealerships located at Lilydale, Knoxfield and Pakenham Vic. And ironically will never be branded Cervus equipment, but instead Brandt Tractor as the signwriter steps in.

The Glenmac deal was ideal for Cervus Equipment to expand as it currently has locations to the East and West of Glenmac and this acquisition ties together the dealership network across Southern Victoria.

Cervus Equipment Australia has acknowledged the pioneering spirit of Glenmac Sales and Service following the acquisition of its three Melbourne John Deere dealerships. 

Founded by Mike and Hermine Toth in 1976, Glenmac has grown to include branches in Pakenham, Knoxfield and Lilydale, and provides John Deere equipment, parts and service to customers from home gardeners, to sporting clubs, councils, commercial businesses, and the agriculture sector. 

Cervus Equipment Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Tim Ormrod, paid tribute to Mike and Hermine Toth’s success and commitment to outstanding service over the past 45 years.

“Mike and Hermine are true pioneers, starting with humble operations in 1976 out of a bay located in an East Burwood Service Station and strategically growing the business to three thriving locations and more than 50 employees today,” Mr Ormrod said. 

“The Toths’ success has always been underpinned by outstanding service, and we are looking forward to continuing to deliver industry-best equipment and support to existing and new Glenmac customers.” 

Mike Toth said, at 82 years of age, the time was right to transition ownership of the business to Cervus Equipment that will build on the foundation created by the work of his family, including children Tony and Diana, who have been part of Glenmac since 1990. 

“I will miss selling and servicing the familiar green and yellow tractors and mowers, however, I know the business, and importantly our customers, will be in good hands,” Mike Toth added. 

“Over many years, we have expanded the business and our product lines but would not have been as successful without the support of our customers. 

“Cervus Equipment has an established name in the John Deere world, and we wish them success in taking over Glenmac so they can continue to grow the dealerships,” Mike toth concluded.

Tim Ormrod said it was a privilege for Cervus Equipment, and its new parent company Brandt, to acquire such well-run and respected John Deere branches.

“Cervus Equipment currently has locations to the East and West of Glenmac, and this acquisition ties together our dealership network across Southern Victoria,” Tim Ormrod said. 

“We are successful when our customers and team are successful and we look forward to partnering with these key stakeholders of Glenmac in the future,” said Tim Ormrod, Managing Director for Cervus Equipment Australia, soon to be Brandt Tractor.

Through the expanded footprint of Brandt Tractor’s network, John Deere buyers can access service and support to Southern Victoria’s largest parts inventory and a wide selection of both new and used agriculture, golf and compact construction equipment.