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Livestock birth-management companies for sale provide fertile opportunities for new owners

Two livestock birth-management firms enabling New Zealand farmers to be among the most productive primary producers in the world has been placed on the market for sale.

Cattle pregnancy testing company Ultra-Scan was established in 1994 to examine the fertility rate of pregnant cows. Ultra-Scan now has 20 franchises throughout New Zealand – with 14 in the North Island and six in the South Island. The majority of the company’s North Island franchise operations are located in the Greater Waikato and King Country districts.

While initially founded to deliver cow gestation scanning services, Ultra-Scan’s service offering has subsequently gone on to include similar pregnancy tests for sheep, deer and goats, as well as the de-horning of young calves aged between four days and 10 weeks of age – in a Ministry for Primary Industry-approved practice known as ‘disbudding’ on calves - as well as DNA sampling, electronic calf tagging for identification, and teat removal.

The company is now selling two of its Waikato franchises – the first encompassing the Waikato East catchment area of Morrinsville, Kiwitahi, Te Aroha, Waihou, Springdale, Patetonga, Tahuna, Hoe-O-Tainui, and Tauhei, while the second franchise area incorporates the Te Awamutu district including the settlements of Pirongia, Kihikihi, Parawera, and Pukeatua.

The two Ultra-Scan franchise businesses are now being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Hamilton. Salesperson Josh Smith said that while the East Waikato and Te Awamutu Ultra-Scan territories were being marketed as separate business opportunities, they could also be bought as a combined entity.

“The businesses would appeal to a range of buyers – anything from New Zealanders who have recently returned home to the Waikato as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic who are looking at re-establishing their livelihoods in the area, through to personnel already involved in animal healthcare locally who are enthusiastic about taking the next step in their career paths,” Smith said.

“While a good network of farming contacts within the franchise regions is an advantage, it is by no means a prerequisite - as both businesses are being sold with existing strong clientele databases built up over decades of operating in their respective regions.”

Calf scans can take place as early as 30 days after conception. Ultra-Scan technicians can accurately date the age of the foetus between 30-90 days after conception - providing farmers with critical farm management information to plan for future feed levels and income forecasts.

Last season, Ultra-Scan technicians throughout New Zealand scanned some 600,000 cows - delivering stock assessment reports back to farmers within 24 hours. Ultra-Scan’s livestock healthcare-management expertise meant the company and all of its franchisee technicians were deemed to be essential service providers during the Covid-19 level three and four lockdown workplace restrictions earlier this year.

Smith said that prior to buying into the Ultra-Scan franchise network, potential owners were carefully vetted to ensure they had a competent understanding of rudimentary animal healthcare practices, as well as high levels of customer service, and were financially literate in running profitable companies where revenue growth was expected by the franchisor.

“Ultra-Scan franchisees can run their business from their own home in exactly the same way that many New Zealanders did under Covid-19 lockdown conditions. There’s no need to operate from an office or practice. Ultra-Scan technicians are annually certified by vets,” Smith said.

Servicing farmers for just eight months a year in parallel with the dairying season, both the Waikato East and Te Awamutu Ultra-Scan franchises had recorded earnings of more than $100,000 in the just concluded financial year.

“Any new franchisee is given a full practical then ‘first-hand’ training on all aspects of Ultra-Scan’s suite of services. This runs until the head franchisor has full and total confidence in the new technician’s competency,” Smith said.

“In parallel, franchisees are also given back-office business administration training on everything from marketing protocols and inventory management through to accounting practices, and invoice reconciliation.”

The Ultra-Scan parent company holds annual conferences to keep all franchisees updated on changes to their industry sector, and new innovations within the brand.

“Ultra-Scan’s reputation is its strongest marketing tool – with a high degree of repeat business built up over the decades, and ever more new customers coming on board as farm technology and higher degrees of financial planning and stock scenario forecasting are becoming commonplace in herd and property management,” Smith said.

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