Savage Companies merging with Bartlett milling, grain businesses

by Josh Sosland
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Savage Bartlett
 
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, U.S. — Savage Companies and Bartlett and Company have announced an agreement under which Bartlett Grain Co. and Bartlett Milling Co. will merge with Salt Lake City-based Savage.

A specialist in supply chain services, Savage has more than 4,000 employees in 250 operation locations across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. The company focuses on rail, truck and marine transportation, logistics, materials handling and other industrial and environmental services. Savage works with companies in the oil refining, power generation, rail, food and agriculture, oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical, and construction industries.

In food and agriculture, Savage’s customers include leading fertilizer producers as well as companies moving food-grade products to warehouses and distribution centers across the United States. Savage operates more than 40 transload terminals in North America, where food ingredients, including sugar, flour, malt and corn sweeteners are transferred between different modes of transportation. Established in 1946, Savage Companies is privately owned by members of the Savage family.

The merged business will be renamed Savage Enterprises, with the grain and milling businesses continuing to operate under the Bartlett name.

“We’re excited to combine these two great, family-owned, North American companies and to join forces with such an exceptional company,“ said Kirk Aubry, president and chief executive officer of Savage. “Like Savage, Bartlett is well-respected and financially strong. The companies combined have more than 180 years of experience. We look forward to the tremendous synergies and opportunities for growth and success this partnership makes possible. By leveraging our combined operational and market expertise, with our shared values of integrity, safety and reliability, we’ll be able to grow stronger together and thrive for generations.”

James B. Hebenstreit, chairman of Bartlett, added, “We so respect and appreciate Savage — its culture, its vision, its innovative management, its governance, its success. The fit and possibilities for all who are Bartlett are extraordinary. The merger will help make us the best we can be.”

When the merger is completed, Aubry will serve as president and CEO of Savage Enterprises. Hebenstreit will join the Savage board of directors and will become vice-chairman. The Hebenstreit family will be shareholders of Savage Enterprises. William J. Fellows, president and CEO of Bartlett, will continue to lead Bartlett as president and CEO, reporting to Aubry. Fellows, too, will join the Savage board.

“There’s great alignment between Bartlett and Savage culturally, with a strong commitment from both organizations to team members and customers,” Aubry said. “There shouldn’t be any measurable changes in how customers and team members interact with either company, and we’re confident that combining these businesses will be great for our team members, our customers and our shareholders.

“We see opportunities for growth as well as an opportunity to benefit through diversification of our business interests. We believe there are synergies in serving energy and agriculture companies in terms of how we handle commodities, trade flow, the importance of owning and operating strategic assets etcetera.”

Todd Savage, non-executive chairman of the Savage board of directors, added, “It is incredible to reflect on the humble beginnings of both companies, and our teams’ hard work to build the valued customer and partner relationships we both have today. We have profound respect for Bartlett, and we’re looking forward to the knowledge and wisdom from Jim Hebenstreit as our vice-chairman and Bill Fellows as a board member.”

Bartlett Milling is the eighth largest flour milling company in the United States with 41,000 cwts of daily milling capacity at three mills in Kansas and North Carolina, according to the 2018 Grain & Milling Annual, published by Sosland Publishing Company. Also according to the G.M.A., Bartlett is the 20th largest grain company in the United States with 69,326,000 bushels of grain storage capacity.  The company’s 25 terminal and subterminal storage facilities are located in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. Bartlett also owns 14 country elevators.

Robert G. Knief, president of Bartlett Grain since 2011, will remain in his role as will Roderick Geiger, president of Bartlett Milling. Both will continue to report to Fellows.

Not included in the transaction is the Bartlett Cattle business, which will continue to be part of Bartlett & Co. The company said it is exploring strategic options for its cattle business.

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