MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Emerald Grain Pty Ltd announced on April 1 that it has acquired 100% of SQP Grain, purchasing the remaining 55% from grower-owned SQP Co-operative Ltd and private shareholders.

The SQP Co-op board unanimously agreed to sell its remaining SQP Grain shares to Emerald following extensive consultation of its grower membership.

Following seven years of profitable trading in its own right, SQP Co-op established SQP Grain with Emerald in 2007 with the aim of providing more grain marketing choices for Victorian grain growers. It has operated as a successful joint-venture for the past eight years.

Since its inception, SQP Grain has opened offices in Ballarat, Horsham and Moama and purchased around 4 million tonnes of grain from Victorian farming families.

Former SQP Grain Chairman and SQP Co-op Director David Blackburn said SQP co-op’s grower members achieved what they had set out to by establishing the local grain marketer.

“Before deregulation, Victorian growers were getting a raw deal when they went to sell their grain because of the limited number of credible counterparties and grain marketing alternatives,” Blackburn said. “We wanted to give growers an alternative pathway to market. Over the past eight years we’ve done that, and plenty of new players have stepped into the market during that time. Competition for growers’ grain is now at an all-time high.”

Emerald Grain Managing Director John Murray said the new ownership structure was a strategic move for the national grain marketer, storage and handler.

“Grower service will remain SQP Grain’s core focus. We know we can only be successful if our grower customers are successful too,” Murray said. “We have a dedicated network of local merchants along with new investment in digital tools to make it easier for growers to transact with us. Importantly all regional grain marketing offices across Victoria will remain open.”

He said SQP Grain Managing Director Ben Fleay will continue with Emerald Grain in an expanded role.

“Ben will oversee Emerald Grain’s accumulation strategy across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, working alongside Emerald Grain’s storage and handling team to ensure accumulation targets and grower service needs are met,” he said.

Other significant recent investments for Emerald Grain include a A$3 million commitment to upgrade its container facilities at Melbourne Port Terminal, along with the January purchase of remaining shares in its New South Wales grain accumulation business, Southern Ag Grain.