The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for April 12, 2002

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

Company Earnings Releases

> Nestle SA reported that its first-quarter sales rose 10% due to inclusion of a recently acquired pet food business and said it expects record profits this year.  Sales for the first three months of the year were 21.3 billion Swiss francs ($12.8 billion), compared with 19.4 billion in the same period last year.  The sales figure was boosted by the inclusion of U.S. pet food manufacturer Ralston Purina, which has been fully consolidated since Jan. 1. The petcare business showed strong growth of 88% from CHF 1,411 ($837 million) to CHF 2,653 ($1,575 million), reflecting the Purina acquisition, but also real internal growth of 2%.  (AP)

Company News Releases

>  Phibro Animal Health was granted a no-withdrawal label claim for its Terramycin feed additive for swine.  The approval was granted by the FDA.  (Feedstuffs)

>  The Butler Company announced the completion of the purchase of DVM Manager, a producer of practice management software for veterinarians.  In addition to offering a full complement of animal health products and drug supplies, the acquisition of DVM Manager will allow Butler to expand its service offerings.  DVM Manager is currently the third largest provider of Windows-based veterinary practice management software, which helps veterinarians manage their practices.  DVM Manager reported sales revenues of over $2 million in 2001.  While the new subsidiary will be known as Butler Solutions, LLC, it will do business as Butler DVM Manager.  (company press release)

>  Sygen International, formerly PIC Genetics, announced the approval of three new patents related to genetic markers, further expanding the company’s PICmarq technology.  The first of the three patents, obtained in the United States, is related to a litter size genetic marker.  A second patent related to litter size also has been accepted for grant in Europe. The third patent, which has been accepted for grant in Europe, relates to the determination of coat color. It’s designed to ensure the occurrence of white pigs in markets where that product is preferred.  (Pork Alert)

       Mergers, Acquisitions & Divestitures

  >  Are you interested in growing your business by purchasing another company, product line or technology?

  >  Have you been thinking about selling your company, product line or technology?

  >  Have you considered merging your company with another firm to improve shareholder value?

In the past 2 years, Brakke Consulting has handled a number of projects related to acquisitions or divestitures.  We were the sales Agent of Record for the December sale of Megan Health to Avant Immunotherapeutics.  We assisted with valuations and due diligence on several confidential transactions, and provided executive counsel on several other potential transactions.

Brakke Consulting has the experience, insight, abilities, and contacts that provide our clients with the highest quality services in the animal health, pet, veterinary, and specialty chemicals markets.  Please contact any of our offices for a confidential consultation on our range of services.  Contact information for all offices are available on our website at and click on a starred location on the world map.

Animal Health News

>  SWITZERLAND   The Swiss Federal Veterinary Office reported Switzerland has discovered two new cases of BSE, bringing the total so far this year to eight. The cows were found to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the latter half of March. One case was in the canton of Bern and the other in the canton of Vaud. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  MALAYSIA   Malaysian officials banned the movement of cattle in a northeastern state after detecting 30 cows infected with foot-and-mouth disease in the past week. Officials were vaccinating livestock in the affected areas against the disease.  Authorities have not yet established the cause of the outbreak. The foot-and-mouth outbreak was the first since 1995.  (AP)

>  US   Russia may extend its ban on U.S. poultry beyond the original deadline because it alleges it has yet to receive evidence that the United States has fulfilled its part of a deal reached last week on defusing the trade dispute.  Last week, U.S. and Russian agriculture officials reached a deal under which the ban was to be lifted, and in exchange, the United States was to provide the Russian Agriculture Ministry a report on its implementation of the agreement’s conditions, including tougher controls on veterinary documents and measures against companies that exported salmonella-tainted chicken to Russia. (Meating Place)

>  UK   Spinal cord was found in beef imported from Spain into the UK.  The discovery was made last week in two quarters out of 330 quarters of beef in a mixed consignment imported from France, comprising beef from Austria, Germany and Spain.  The two quarters found to contain SRM were labeled as coming from Spain. Bovine spinal cord is classified as specified risk material (SRM) and is therefore among those parts of the animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity. Under European law, SRM must be removed immediately after slaughter, stained, and disposed of safely.  In testing for BSE in Spain, there were 38 positive tests out of 370,064 apparently healthy animals tested between January 2001 and January 2002.  (Wattnet Meatnews)

>  US   Pennsylvania announced that it is launching this year’s effort to detect and control mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus.  Last year, West Nile virus was detected in Pennsylvania in humans for the first time.  The departments of Health and Agriculture will perform laboratory testing to determine if the virus is present in mosquitoes, animals and humans.  The department will continue to work with veterinarians and horse owners across the state to monitor horse populations.  In 2001, the West Nile virus was found in seven horses. (PRNewswire)

>  US   The idea of a nationwide insurance program that would allow ranchers to insure pasture and rangeland against losses caused by drought and other disasters is being studied by federal agriculture officials.  Such insurance is now offered as a pilot program to ranchers in 12 Montana counties.  The pilot program operated by USDA’s Risk Management Agency lets ranchers buy insurance that pays out if land used for grazing livestock is decimated by drought, fire, hail or insects. (AP)

>  US   Scientists at Senomyx Inc. have demonstrated the function of a human receptor that responds to sweeteners and a related human receptor that responds to glutamate, a savory tasting molecule found in a variety of meats, cheeses and vegetables.  Such taste modulators could improve the healthfulness and taste of foods, and such taste modulators would otherwise be extremely difficult to discover without having the human taste receptors in hand. (Meating Place)

>  US   A Canadian government laboratory and DowAgroSciences Canada Inc. are working to bioengineer feed formulas with a “natural antibody” that will eliminate E. coli O157:H7 from the digestive tract in cattle.  They hope to put a gene that triggers production of an antibody preventing E. coli O157:H7 from replicating into feed ingredients, such as corn. When the antibody comes into contact with the pathogen, it envelops the bacterial cell, preventing the pathogen from attaching itself to the cow’s intestinal walls.  Council researchers were able to find antibodies that differentiate E. coli O157:H7 from the hundreds of other benign coliform bacteria in a cow’s digestive system. (Meating Place)

>  UK   Medical researchers at the University of Cambridge in England are reportedly testing a theory that dogs can diagnose cancer in human beings.  Called “dognosis” by the researchers involved in the project, it refers to the notion that a dog’s powerful sense of smell can be used to sniff out a cancerous anomaly in the human body.  According to the British medical journal, The Lancet, a dog belonging to a British woman repeatedly sniffed a lesion the woman had on her thigh. The lesion was subsequently diagnosed as malignant melanoma.  In another case, a 66-year-old man with a well-established patch of eczema on one leg found his dog pushed its nose again and again against the eczema through the man’s trousers. This prompted the man to consult his doctor, who found a cancerous lesion on the man’s leg. In a third incident, a young Dalmatian showed persistent interest in a fleck of pigmentation on one leg of the dog’s 20-year-old owner. When the owner consulted her doctor about it, malignant melanoma was discovered.  (AnimalNet – The Ottawa Citizen)

>  US   In his quest to bump up production, a dairy farmer in Oregon is joining farmers in Europe and elsewhere who say bovine pampering pays off.  The farmer began experimenting with 15 specially made waterbeds, and is ordering 80 more for his 1,600 cows.  Distributors claim the beds reduce wear and tear on the cows’ joints and prevent swelling and burning of hocks. The Dutch- and British-made waterbeds have been in use in Europe for seven or eight years, mostly for dairy cattle. They began appearing in the New York/Pennsylvania area and the Midwest about three years ago, and are catching on in the West. (AP)

Agribusiness News

>  DuPont and its subsidiary, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and Monsanto Co. and its affiliates announced last week that they have signed a broad-reaching agreement, which the companies claim will grant farmers greater access to new agricultural technologies in the seed brands they prefer to plant. According to the companies, the agreement gives both companies cross-licenses to enabling technologies that enhance the performance of corn, canola and soybean crops and improve farmers’ productivity and efficiency. (Wattnet Poultry)

Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

We hope you can appreciate that the news for the week is a bit light when we report waterbeds for dairy cows as one of the more interesting stories to report.  We know there are really a lot of stories out there that need to be told so we’d appreciate more press releases and information direct from your media departments or public relations firms.  You can send releases to the email below.

Next Monday, April 15th, Brakke Consulting will complete 16 years of providing quality services to the industries we serve.  We plan to stop for a few minutes on Monday afternoon and toast our many clients and friends that have made this possible.  Then we’ll start off on the next 16 years, which we hope to make even more exciting.  Please continue to read this newsletter as we announce a number of changes and improvements in the firm over the next few months and years.

I want to personally thank the consultants, employees, and clients that have contributed to our success.  It is great to be associated with such talented people.

Have a great weekend.

[Ron Brakke]

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