The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for August 31, 2001
Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
Company News Releases

>  A coalition of farm, consumer and antitrust groups have come together to lobby the FTC to block Nestle SA’s acquisition of Ralston Purina.  The group claims that the merger would create a company that would dominate the pet food industry and stifle competition  The group is also taking its concerns to the investment community, hoping to highlight the effect of mergers on the farming community.  (Pet Product News)

>  Tyson Foods, Inc. and IBP, inc. announced that their joint proxy statement/prospectus with respect to the back-end merger of IBP with and into Lasso Acquisition Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyson, has been declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The proxy statement/prospectus will be mailed to IBP shareholders later this week. A special meeting of IBP shareholders has been scheduled to approve the merger of IBP and Lasso Acquisition Corporation.  (PRNewswire)

>  IBP inc. is recalling about 500,000 pounds of ground beef from 35 states that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.  The ground beef was produced on Aug. 7 in a Dakota City, Neb., plant and distributed to retail establishments, wholesale establishments and institutions nationwide.  In a statement, IBP official noted that much of the product was no longer in commerce. (Meating Place)

>  Excel Corp. officially completed its acquisition of Emmpak Foods announced nearly two months ago.  Emmpak will be combined with Excel Specialty Products, the value-added division of Excel. The executives said the new company will be known as Emmpak, an Excel Food Solutions Company.  Emmpak headquarters will remain in Milwaukee.  (Meating Place)

>  Nestle SA is negotiating an alliance in the dairy business with New Zealand’s Fonterra
Cooperative Group Ltd. Nestle indicated it is planning a number of joint ventures in the dairy business’ with Fonterra, one of the world’s biggest exporters of dairy products. The partnership will focus its operations in North, Central and South America, said Nestle. Fonterra, formerly known as Globalco, was set up following the merger of the major New Zealand milk cooperatives and the New Zealand Dairy Board.  (AP)

>   ABAXIS, Inc. announced that it has signed a non-exclusive agreement with scil animal care company GmbH of Germany to distribute the Company’s VetScan veterinary products in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. Scil animal care company GmbH is a leading supplier of veterinary technology and supplies in Europe and the United States.  (PRNewswire)

>  Optibrand announced the issuance of its first international patent.  South Africa has approved a patent covering the company’s OptiReader device, a combination handheld computer and ocular fundus digital video camera.  The device is used to collect retinal images of livestock, combine those images with a secure GPS date, time and location stamp, and provide a tamper-proof method to identify and verify livestock. The company expects to commercialize the system in early 2002.  (PRNewswire)

>  BluePaw Family Pet Insurance Company announced it has changed its name to TruePaws Family Pet Insurance Company. The name TruePaws was chosen to represent the company’s commitment to integrity, honesty, and the highest standards of quality service. TruePaws assures Pet owners this transition is strictly a change in name only. (Business Wire)

>  HUNGARY   Novartis announced that it acquired the product line of Selbruha, a Hungarian animal health company with business in Hungary and Romania.  The acquisition includes a line of anthelmintics for companion and farm animals, and the rights to three products currently in development.  Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. (company press release)

Brakke Consulting, Inc. announces subscriptions for
Sales Force Effectiveness Study

Do you really know how your veterinary customers perceive your sales force? 
Do you know why your customers will see certain salespeople while refusing to see others?

These are two of the critical questions that will be answered in a SALES FORCE EFFECTIVENESS STUDY to be conducted by Brakke Consulting, Inc. in September and October 2001.   This study will also be answering such questions as:

 – What percent of veterinarians actually see salespeople and why?
 – How is your competition’s sales force doing? 
 – Are their salespeople more, or less, successful in seeing the veterinarian/customer?
 – Which company’s salespeople are seeing veterinarians most frequently and why?
 – Are there differences based on clinic size or geographic area?
 – Which companies’ salespeople offer the most helpful information to the customer?
 – Why are buying groups continuing to gain more market share?

Brakke Consulting will conduct three focus groups and survey 600 small animal veterinarians to answer these and other questions.  The information provided can verify the effective of your company’s sales force, and offer direction for change and improvement.  If you would like to learn more about the 2001 Sales Force Effectiveness Study, please contact Ron Brakke at or (972) 243-4033; or Ken Berkholtz at or (561) 223-3079.

Animal Health News

>  SPAIN   Spanish authorities slaughtered almost 4,000 pigs in the northeastern region
of Catalonia in a bid to eradicate a new outbreak of swine fever. The animals were culled in an
area in and around the village of Penelles in Lerida province, where the disease was detected.
Under a new government directive, all animals within one kilometer of an outbreak of swine fever have to be killed. (AnimalNet – Agence France Presse)

>  NETHERLANDS   Dutch farmers demanded that Britain reverse its long-standing opposition to vaccinations to curb a fresh outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Dutch farmers’ group LTO-Nederland, told Reuters that if the UK continues to manage the outbreaks the way they have over the last several months, there’s a chance that the illness will not be under control next summer.   (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  MEXICO   Mexico is now requiring that all meat or meat products derived from ruminant animals (bovine, ovine or caprine) for export to Mexico must include a certified statement that the animals from which it was derived were not fed meat and bone meal. Specifically the statement must appear on the Remarks section of FSIS Form 9060-5 or on USDA letterhead and read: 1)
The animals from which the product was obtained were not fed ruminant origin meat and bone meal. 2) In the country of origin, there are animal health regulations that forbid the feeding of ruminant origin meat and bone meal to ruminant animals. (AnimalNet – Herd On The Hill)

>  US   Tests at Kansas State University have indicated that spraying the chemical acidified sodium chlorite on frankfurters and hog carcasses reduces pathogenic bacteria more effectively than water washing.  KSU research showed that the chemical treatment is effective on ready-to-eat meat products because the surface is cooked. The treatment is also effective on animal carcasses because the presence of organic material does not inactivate the chemical. (Meating Place)

>  US   Laboratory experiments at Iowa State University suggest that the oil in the catnip plant is about 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the chemical in many commercial insect repellents. The research is preliminary and catnip has yet to be tested on humans as a mosquito repellent.   Iowa State has submitted a patent application for the use of catnip compounds as insect repellents.  (AP)

Central Veterinary Conference

Congratulations to everyone associated with the Central States Veterinary Conference and Veterinary Medicine Publishing and an excellent convention. There were nearly 2,000 veterinarians and over 1,500 exhibitors in attendance, with a total attendance of over 5,600. The Hospital Design, Medicine, and Practice Management Conference had record attendance in all areas.  The meeting was well organized and the exhibit hall was full of both exhibitors and conference attendees.  The Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors (AVPMCA) met and made substantial progress in the formation of this new organization. Between meetings with clients, committee meetings, touring exhibits, attending continuing education, and trying to make as many of the social events as possible, the Brakke consultants were busy talking with current and future clients.  We were most appreciative of the Kansas City weather that was 10 degrees lower than 2000 and 15 degrees below Dallas temperatures.  The staff at the conference promised that it would be even cooler next year.  What a group!! 

Agribusiness News

>  Syngenta reported that sales for the first half of 2001 fell by about $390 million, but thanks to merger synergies it held onto margins at 26% and kept per-share earnings at $3.95 per share. Total sales in North America slipped 4%.  Syngenta Seeds saw overall growth of 1%, and vegetables and flowers reported a 7% increase in sales.  (DirectAg)


Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

We continue to field many questions regarding the internet and the impact it will have on the animal health, nutrition, pet and specialty chemicals markets.  We noted at the Central Veterinary Conference meeting that several companies’ e-commerce initiatives continue to expand.  Most of the animal health companies are increasing their transactions with customers on their websites, but it is still a low single-digit percentage of their total business.

It appears to us that the financial markets are renewing their enthusiasm for another round of investment in new or survivor companies.  Forbes Magazine just published a special edition with “Internet II” on the cover page.  The lead story is “Rebooting the Revolution.”  There is some interesting reading in this special edition.

This past week at the Central Veterinary Conference, we heard lots of numbers related to clicks, hits, and visitors, along with other e-commerce jargon.  In the current American Airlines magazine, there was a short article by Kathy Biro, co-founder and vice chairman of Digitas Inc.  We present it below in its entirety.

“This year marks the end of the dot-com smugfest.  To celebrate, I’ve set aside my managerial responsibilities so that I can fully explore the future of e-business.  The Internet industry is desperate for adults who can speak in reasoned tones.

“Only two metrics matter:  ROI from your marketing mix and the lifetime value of each of your customers.  Forget about clicks, hits, and page views.  The Web isn’t a mass-marketing vehicle.

“What’s the right marketing mix?  You have to make sure that every point of contact – in a store, by phone, or on the Web – is completely synergistic.  The Web has proven that customers have zero tolerance for fragmented lines of business.

“Meanwhile, results do matter.  You need to convert new customers into real revenue.  The biggest risk to the growth of the Internet is something that nobody had considered until very recently:  What if most Net spending simply ends up generating business that companies would have gotten anyway?

“In the end, my job is to help the industry prove the positive economic impact of the Internet.  For companies even to consider cutting back on Internet spending is criminal.”

Just some comments worth posting on the refrigerator or bulletin board at work.  Those of you in the US have a safe Labor Day weekend.

 [Ron Brakke]
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