Ruralco has announced a $65million capital raising, to finance the purchase a further nine agricultural businesses, valued at $61million.
He said some of the businesses Ruralco were buying sold over the counter water products, such as pipes and pumps, while others concentrated on the design, installation, construction and maintenance of water infrastructure.
“We are really looking to leverage that to bring scale, technology, and expertise into that sector, to support the investment of Federal and state governments and private investment, in water assets around the country,” Mr Dillon said.
Mr Dillon said the businesses focused on supplying irrigation equipment and advice rather than buying and trading water rights.
“Now we are a dominant player, a market leader in the water space, our plan is to bring new technology into that sector, as well
“We are looking overseas, and domestically, for all the best technology we can offer.”
The purchases include equipment supplier Irrigation Tasmania, for nearly $20m, and completion of the $16m purchase of the four northern Tasmania TP Jones and Co businesses.
Ruralco has also purchased water equipment businesses in Mildura, Victoria, the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, and the South Australian Riverland, for a combined $13.3m.
Mr Dillon said the expansion was part of the company’s Future Farming strategy.
“The investment pillar of our strategy is about consolidating the water part of our business, so these acquisitions fill in some of our gaps in our water business.”
He said confidence in the agricultural sector was at an all time high, “on the back of strong commodity prices but also the availability of water for the summer cropping system, it augurs well, for the next six months.”
Mr Dillon said Ruralco also wanted to put as much innovation and agricultural technology, as possible, through its businesses.
“All sorts of our innovation will come out of our SproutX partnership and also our recently announced PrecisionHawk drones.”
He said digital technology had already transformed the agricultural landscape.
“We have opportunity to truly integrate these technologies to deliver productivity,” he said.
“We have got the network now; we need to ensure we give than network, and our customers, the innovation they need to take their businesses forward.”