The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for August 27, 1999

 Virbac’s provisional sales for the first half of 1999 were reported to be FF 870 million ($137 million), over 19% higher than last year. The integration of newly acquired subsidiaries in the US and South Africa were favorably mentioned.
 Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica last week reported a slight drop in sales for the first half of 1999. According to Boehringer Ingelheim, the continuing difficult situation in the swine market in America played a key role.
 reported first quarter 1999 net income of $275,000 on revenues of $4.2 million, a sales increase of 68% over 1998.
 PETCO reported second quarter net sales of $236 million, up 20% over 1998, with operating income of $8.9 million.  PETCO also reported 51 new superstores opened in the last 12 months.
 and, Inc joined with AOL as Anchors in Pet Departments of Shop @ AOL, providing access to AOL’s 17 million members. will also anchor in Netscape and Compuserve’s shopping areas.
 Synbiotics Corporation, in collaboration with W3Commerce LLC, announced the launch of NetworkVet.Com, an Internet-based service to assist veterinarians in the marketing of their services to pet-owners.
 has completed the $9.2 million acquisition of Humboldt Industries, Inc, one of the largest U.S. pet supply catalogues with revenues of approximately $15 million.  Humboldt distributes two pet catalogs: Home Pet Shop and the Dog’s Outfitter — to retail and wholesale customers throughout the United States and in selected foreign markets.
, introduced its Bottomless Bowl™ Subscription Service. Designed to create long-term buying relationships with customers, Bottomless Bowl creates a continuous customer purchasing cycle by fulfilling orders at customer-determined dates and payment schedules. is kicking off the service by offering free delivery for a limited time.
 USDA-NASS reported that US farms with internet access have more than doubled since 1997, to 29% of all farms.  40% of all farms own or lease a computer.
 AgResearch, a New Zealand government research agency, has applied to New Zealand’s Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) for permission to undertake a series of experiments introducing a human protein gene into cattle as part of research into a possible treatment for multiple sclerosis, also known as MS.  AgResearch said it hoped the introduction of a copied human myelin basic protein (MBP) gene would lead to the production of large amounts of the protein in cows’ milk.
 The Food Irradiation Coalition, which includes the National Food Processors Assn. and the American Meat Institute, asked the U.S. government Monday to approve irradiation of ready-to-eat meats, fruits and vegetables.  Such processed food makes up more than one-third of the $750 billion worth of food Americans consume each year. 
 The first British beef to be exported since the worldwide ban was imposed in March 1996 will be served at a celebration luncheon in Brussels – home of the European Commission.  The ban was lifted on August 1 of this year, after EU agriculture ministers agreed the UK had implemented strict regulations to avoid a recurrence of the disease.
 FutureCom announced an application to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for approval of an electronic trading exchange for agricultural commodities available over the Internet. In the application, FutureCom seeks approval for a contract market and trading in live cattle and options. The website can be viewed at
 According to recent research at the University of Delaware, total phosphorus levels in chicken litter dropped by 41 percent after chickens ate a modified diet containing the hybrid corn, reduced levels of supplemental phosphorus and the phytase enzyme. Water-soluble phosphorus levels dropped by 82 percent, compared to the amount produced by poultry fed a standard commercial diet. 

Correction: the proper spelling of Pfizer’s new canine fluoroquinolone is Zeniquin.  It was erroneously reported as “Zeniquen” in the August 20 email.

The Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

We have several press releases relating to e-commerce of one form or another in this issue of Animal Health News and Notes.  Also in recent weeks, Idexx formally announced its internet veterinary forum, and The Butler Company’s was launched.  In addition, last week’s newsletter reported’s revenues of $10 million with a positive net income.  It is becoming more obvious every day that e-commerce will begin to have an impact on how business is conducted in the animal health industry over the next several years.  While the real impact is small today, this new medium will be used to change the access to information and the way many firms currently do business.  Have you looked at your competition’s website recently?  How does it compare with your firm’s own website, and what can the customer do and learn on your website?  A new business model is developing, and e-commerce will undoubtedly be an integral part of it.

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