The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for June 9, 2000
Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
Company Earnings Releases
>  Smithfield Foods, Inc. reported net income of $75.1 million for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2000, compared with net income of $94.9 million in fiscal 1999.  Sales for the year were $5.2 billion, an increase of 36% over 1999.  (PRNewswire)

>  Guyomarc’h, French animal nutrition group, reported first-quarter sales of $180.5 million this year, up 9.3% on the first quarter of 1999.  The group’s sales for 1999 totaled Fr 3,845 million, down by 4.3%, but net income was Fr 84.2 million, up by 3.1% on 1998. This month Guyomarc’h purchased an 85% stake in the family-owned company UAR, which specializes in equine feed, for an undisclosed amount.  (Animal Pharm)

>  Abic (Netanya) of Israel announced sales, excluding overseas activities, during 1999 reached $22.5 million, 20% higher than 1998.  By product group, sales were greatest in its poultry biologicals line.  (Animal Pharm)

Company News Releases

>  Neogen Corporation acquired the assets of AmVet Pharmaceuticals of Yaphank, N.Y.  The terms of the acquisition were $3.4 million in cash, plus incentives based on future revenues.  Neogen plans to integrate all of AmVet’s assets into its Animal Safety Division in Lexington, KY. (PRNewswire)

> Central Garden & Pet Company has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission  a Form 10 which would permit the Company to spin off its lawn and garden distribution business to shareholders. After the spin-off is completed, the lawn and garden distribution business would become a separate public company while Central would continue to operate its existing lawn and garden branded products business, as well as its branded pet products and pet distribution businesses.  Central anticipates that the SEC review process will take approximately six weeks and that the spin-off will occur in July.  (Business Wire)

>, Europe’s largest Internet petcare company has been launched in the U.K.  Billed as the first on-line one-stop-shop for pets, will sell over 4,000 pet products on-line. is owned by Irish pet superstore chain Petstop.  (Animal Pharm)

> is introducing a free service for pet owners called “Ask the Vet”.  Dr. Ernest Ward will answer pet owners’ emails about caring for their pets starting June 5th.  (Company News Release)

>  Horizon Organic Holding Corp. producer of organic dairy products, announced the acquisition of Mid England-based Organic Matters Ltd. Organic Matters provides a wide range of branded dairy products including fluid milk, butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, cream and ultra pasteurized (UP) milk to supermarket and health food stores throughout the United Kingdom with a concentration in the greater London area.  Horizon Organic will pay nearly $2 million for Organic Matters, which is less than half of 2000 projected sales.  (PRNewswire)


>, of web-based Drug Development Informatics services, announced that Sugen has selected PharmQuest’s ASP services, DrugSmarts, for its product development group. creates Internet-enabled solutions for accelerating drug product development. launched a destination site for decision makers in the Pharmaceutical industry in April.  (BW HealthWire)

>  BioValidity has completed research on glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, the first two substances in its new Pet Nutrition Knowledgebase.  Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have recently received both positive and negative attention within the nutrition and veterinary fields–agricultural officials in states such as Minnesota and South Dakota have issued a withdrawal from distribution of pet food products that include glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.  The Pet Nutrition Knowledgebase presents comprehensive, objective, evidence-based information on these substances. (BW HealthWire)

>  The American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s (AVMF) Veterinary ClientLink© video series was recognized by Telly Awards© for outstanding work in four categories: corporate staff training, non-profit fund raising – program, non-profit fund raising – series and original score music.  For video producers, Telly Awards are comparable to the film industry’s Oscar© or an Emmy© for network television. (Veterinary News Network Release)

Animal Health News

>  A United Airlines cross-country flight made an unscheduled landing in Denver for the sake of a freezing dog. The flight was about halfway into its four-hour, 45-minute trip to San Jose, California, when an alert United employee discovered a baggage handler’s mistake: A dog had been loaded into the chilly forward cargo hold of the Airbus A320 rather than the rear hold, which is properly heated.  The pilot and his dispatcher quickly decided that the plane should land as soon as possible. The dog was cold, but healthy, and finished the trip in the owners lap in the passenger cabin.  Reacting to pets left freezing or sweltering on luggage carts or otherwise mistreated by airlines, Congress passed legislation in April requiring better training of airline personnel who handle pets. Congress also decided that statistics on pet deaths and incidents would be made public, airline by airline. As a result, many airlines have decided not to handle pets as baggage over the summer.  (Washington Post)

>  France’s Institu du Cheval (horse institute) has merged with France’s Les Haras Nationaux (national stud farms) to form a national equine administrative establishment.  The new establishment, Les Haras Nationaux, will be the responsibility of France’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.  (Animal Pharm)

Agribusiness News

>  The EU has launched a WTO case against the US plan to rotate sanctions on EU goods in rows over bananas and hormone-treated beef.  The move opens a new front in the complicated trade battles between the 15 nation EU and the US.  (Reuters)

>  Seaboard Farms Inc. has introduced its new premium brand, PrairieFresh, and plans to expand it to cover “a majority” of the company’s pork production.  The brand covers fresh, high-end pork with a basted, enhanced line and a “100% natural” line and is produced from specific genetics, animal health and nutrition protocols, processing and carcass handling standards, specialized packaging and community, customer and consumer relations, according to the announcement. The packaging includes an attached, exclusive meat thermometer which prompts cooks when the pork product is done.  (Feedstuffs)


> and ACCESS Plant Technology, Inc. announced they will work together to use the Internet to bring new seed technology information and products to farmers.’s Internet site will be used to provide extensive technical and agronomic information on the new products prior to commercialization in order to help farmers better understand the new technologies and how to incorporate them on their farms.  (Company Press Release)

>   Perdue Farms Inc., the U.S. No. 3 poultry producer, has bought its first automated chicken catcher and hopes a few more of them will eventually replace its 150 or so human chicken catchers.  The timing of the machine’s acquisition is being questioned by the chicken catchers, who are organizing a union and battling Perdue in court over how much overtime the company owes them.  (AP)

>  The new Peniophora lycii phytase feed enzyme Ronozyme P, jointly developed by Denmark’s Novo Nordisk and Switzerland’s Hoffmann-LaRoche, received approval in the US in April.  The product is being marketed in the US by Roche Vitamins. (Animal Pharm)

>  The US Patent office has issued a patent covering “Compositions Suitable for Controlled Release of the Hormone GnRH and its Analogs” to Thorn Bioscience and Southern Biosystems.  The product, Sabermate, advances ovulation in mares and other domestic animals.  (Animal Pharm)

>  The National Pork Producers Council became so worried about “sharing” hog disease organisms that it added foot bath stations of disinfectant staffed by state health inspectors at the entrance to the breeding animal barn of the 13th World Pork Expo in Indianapolis.

>  UK pig farmers took the government to the High Court, accusing it of failing to give them proper financial support in the wake of the mad cow disease outbreak that hit British exports.  Around 500 farmers converged on the court in London for the start of a challenge spearheaded by the British Pig Industry Support Group (BPISG) over the response of Agriculture Minister Nick Brown to the industry’s plea for help.  (Reuters)

>  Micrologix Biotech Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia and the Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute (REI) of Torrance, California, an affiliate of the UCLA School of Medicine,  announced the signing of a worldwide exclusive licensing and co-development agreement related to a novel antimicrobial peptide technology created by a team of scientists at REI. (Animal Net)

>  France announced the launch of Europe’s biggest testing program to trace the extent of BSE in the national herd.  Agriculture ministry officials stated the tests will start next week and will eventually cover 48,000 animals over two years old that have died of natural causes or in accidents.  (Animal Net)

>  The OECD announced support to farmers in rich nations increased again in 1999 in response to low world commodity prices.  In the annual report, that evaluates agriculture of its 24 member countries, the OECD stated support to producers had risen steadily in the last three years and are now comparable to the high levels of a decade earlier. (Reuters)
>  The online chemical marketplace initiative previously announced by 12 chemical companies has further announced a major expansion. Ashland Chemical, Brenntag, CHEMCENTRAL, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Celanese and Shell Chemical Company agreed in principle to participate in the online chemical marketplace,  expected to offer integrated solutions and services for buying and selling basic, intermediate, specialty and fine chemicals. This B2B electronic marketplace, targeting an estimated $400 billion market, is intended to facilitate global customer relationships and lower fulfillment costs by moving existing business processes onto the Web. (Business Wire)


>  Shareholder proposals designed to force food, restaurant and seed companies to abandon genetic engineering have won modest backing so far, clearing a key hurdle in four of seven cases.  Resolutions put forth by foes of genetically modified (GM) foods gathered enough support from shareholders of Coca-Cola, Philip Morris, Quaker Oats and PepsiCo to qualify to appear on proxy ballots next year.  The genetic engineering issue has generated the largest number of resolutions since the early 1990s, when droves of investors challenged U.S. companies to divest their holdings in apartheid-era South Africa.  Food manufacturers estimate 60% to 70% of items on supermarket shelves may contain some GM ingredients. (USA Today)

Human Resource Issues

We have been asked by several clients to put a special emphasis on seeking candidates that provide more diversity to their employee pool.  If you are aware of individuals with animal health experience, that meet this criteria, who would like to consider a new position within the industry, please have them contact us.  In the past,  we have been successful assisting our clients in filling their positions with qualified candidates.  We would be pleased to assist your human resource group in resolving your diversity issues.

Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

One of the top 10 companies serving the animal health industry announced last week that they were discontinuing their distributor agreements and going direct to the veterinarian.  There are now three major manufacturing firms directly supplying veterinarians. At least one other manufacturer ships the majority of their products direct without utilizing the warehousing and shipping functions of distributors.  Do we have another trend here?  Will others follow?  The veterinary distributor is continually put in the position of justifying the value they add to the distribution of goods and services.  While this is a change in the distribution strategy for some manufacturers, it is not a new business model.  It is a change in the sales tactics utilized to reach the customer.  The debate will continue, as it has for years, regarding which method is more efficient and profitable. 

[Ron Brakke]
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