Alltech confirms purchase of Keenan Systems

Creditors likely to suffer significant losses in deal to rescue agribusiness manufacturer

Viewing a Keenan Mixer Wagon coming off the production line at Keenan’s, Borris Co. Carlow. Photograph: Alf Harvey

Viewing a Keenan Mixer Wagon coming off the production line at Keenan’s, Borris Co. Carlow. Photograph: Alf Harvey

 

Keenan Systems’ creditors are set to suffer significant losses after US animal nutrition company Alltech snapped up the the cattle feed machinery firm from receivership yesterday in a deal understood to be worth less than €10 million.

The purchase of Borris, Co Carlow-based Keenan Systems, which employs 222 people, including 176 in Ireland, marks Alltech’s 14th acquisition globally since 2011.

The Irish company, run by executive chairman Gerard Keenan, fell into receivership earlier this month with debts in the region of €14 million. Some half of that amount was owed to Bank of Ireland, the company’s main lender.

The receivers Kieran Wallace and Cormac O’Connor of KPMG had said that they were confident that all the company’s jobs would be preserved. However, a spokeswoman for Alltech said yesterday that it will review over the next 100 days how it can grow the business and that “we don’t want to speculate on jobs in the meantime.”

The company, which makes diet feeders and mixer wagons, succumbed to financial pressure because of the downturn in commodity prices, which has put a squeeze on farmers’ incomes.

“Between Alltech’s primacy in science and Keenan’s manufacturing strength and technological know-how, we have a winning combination for delivering greater farm efficiency and profitability direct to our farming customers,”said Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, after the deal was agreed.

Alltech said it and Keenan have already identified possible growth opportunities together, which may include nutritional technologies and feeding programmes focused on feed efficiency and herd health as well as advanced ration formulation.

Keenan, which was a family-owned business established by Richard Keenan, a self-taught engineer, in 1978, will continue to be headquartered in Borris.

Together, Alltech and Keenan employ nearly 300 people in Ireland and close to 5,000 globally.