Morris Industries Ltd, a Saskatoon-based farm equipment manufacturer, has been acquired by an investor group led by Ben Voss, the company’s new president and CEO, and including Canadian venture capital firm Avrio Capital and Lamont Brown Group (LBG), a Canadian family office. Terms weren’t released; however, Avrio said its investment was part of a $20 million deployment to three new deals. The acquisition transfers majority ownership of Morris from Casey Davis, who organized its purchase from the Morris family in 2007. Davis will remain a minority investor. Avrio’s Aki Georgacacos and Steven Leakos and LBG’s Keith Brown have joined the board.
New Ownership and Management Transition Supports Morris Industries Ltd. Future Innovation and Growth
September 06, 2017
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Morris Industries Ltd., one of Canada’s leading and long-established farm equipment manufacturers, has announced expanded new ownership led by Ben Voss.
“I am truly honoured and excited today to be part of the next chapter of what is a historic and iconic company,” says incoming President and CEO, Voss. “The company’s founder, Mr. George Morris had a vision to help farmers be more productive and he applied a great deal of innovation and ingenuity to his products and the way he manufactured them. I want to continue that tradition and build on that great legacy with even more innovation and success.”
Voss, an entrepreneur and successful executive for more than 19 years, also an active Saskatchewan grain farmer and agricultural engineer, will replace former CEO and majority shareholder Casey Davis. Voss and Davis made a joint decision to transition majority ownership to a group of investors led by Voss. Davis remains a minority shareholder of Morris, and will also remain on the board of directors, in an advisory role to the company. Voss has joined forces with and is backed by private investors including Avrio Capital and Lamont Brown Group. Avrio has been an active investor in agricultural and food innovation and technology for the past 15 years and the Morris investment marks one of Avrio’s largest investments to date. Lamont Brown Group is a family office started by Keith Brown, a highly successful entrepreneur who started Trailtech Inc. Both Avrio and Lamont Brown Group are headquartered in Calgary, Alberta.
The change in ownership for Morris also marks a significant commitment to growth and re-investment in the company. Building on the recent announcements for advanced manufacturing technology investments, Morris will be undertaking an ambitious and exciting plan as a market leader, playing a key role in the future of farming around the world.
“This sale is a great opportunity for this Western Canadian success story to continue,” says former CEO, Casey Davis. “There are existing and evolving market opportunities that will continue to allow Morris to grow.”
According to Voss, the company’s commitment to farm machinery innovation will remain unchanged after today’s announcement. “Our plan ensures Morris remains a Western-Canadian owned and managed company that continues to innovate and serve the needs of farmers and our global partners, positioning ourselves as market leader and a key part of the future of farming around the world,” says Voss.
One of Canada’s oldest and most recognizable farm equipment manufacturers, Morris was started in 1929 by Mr. George Morris. Davis organized the acquisition of Morris in 2007 from Wendy Morris, daughter of Mr. George Morris, and grew the company into the successful enterprise it is today. Ben Voss joined Morris in 2015 as President and worked closely with Casey Davis to develop a new business plan based on innovation and re-investment into the company’s research and development, manufacturing technology and product line-up. With a strong and committed workforce and management team, along with over 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space in three facilities, in Western Canada. Morris has a capacity to manufacture and export precision farming equipment that is globally unique. For more information about Morris Industries Ltd., please visit www.Morris-Industries.com
“It is rare to find an opportunity to invest in a company that has all the right ingredients to make a huge impact on the future of global food production in such a meaningful way. Morris not only has the history and track record of more than 89 years of successful innovation, the company has a very bright future that can help farmers grow more food and feed an ever-growing population. Avrio is excited to be part of one of the largest and perhaps most innovative short-line manufacturers in Canada.” Aki Georgacacos, Managing Partner of Avrio Capitol Inc.
“From a rock-solid foundation, we are all together today launching the next generation of Morris. At Lamont Brown Group, agriculture and manufacturing are two of our most intense passions. In addition, we know Morris, Ben Voss and Avrio and we couldn’t be happier that all these ingredients are combined in this very exciting business opportunity.” Keith Brown, Chairman and CEO of Lamont Brown Group.
Morris Industries Ltd.
Ben Voss, P.Eng, ICD.D
President and CEO
Avrio Capital Inc.
Aki Georgacacos, CPA, CFA, CF
Lamont Brown Group
Photo courtesy of Morris Industries Ltd