RDO builds presence

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

RDO Equipment cements commitment to Australian market with two acquisitions

(L-R) RD Offutt Co CEO Tim Curoe; Vandersee CEO Bruce Vandersee; incoming RDO Australia Group CEO Julie Whitcombe; RD Offutt Co executive vice-president Ryan Offutt; and founder of RD Offutt Co Ron Offutt

RDO Equipment has consolidated its business interests in Australia by acquiring 100 per cent ownership of Queensland-based machinery dealer Vanderfield and Vermeer Equipment Holdings. It currently owns 50 per cent of each of these businesses.

At the same time the family-owned company – established in the US in 1968 by Ron Offutt and now one of the world’s largest John Deere dealers – has appointed Julie Whitcombe as CEO of the newly formed RDO Australia Group. RDO Equipment recently took over as the John Deere Forestry and Construction equipment dealer in all Australian states apart from WA.

As the acquisitions are completed, a new umbrella business called RDO Australia Group has been created to overarch the Vanderfield, Vermeer Australia and RDO Equipment Australia businesses. The new group will include 18 dealership locations and 520 staff across several businesses.

Whitcombe will transition from her current role as COO of RDO Equipment and Vermeer Australia to become CEO of the RDO Australia Group. She says the creation of the group, and the investment in the two acquisitions, reflects a long-term commitment to the Australian market.

"By increasing our holdings in Vanderfield and Vermeer Australia to 100 per cent we are continuing to build a powerful brand in Australia.

"RDO Australia Group is ready to help shape the future of the agricultural, mining, construction and forestry sectors in this market, through a combination of exceptional network reach, range of product and quality of experience and support. This deal is big news for the industry and is a sign of our confidence in the Australian sector," she says.

RDO’s relationship with Vanderfield in Australia stretches back to 2012 when it made its first investment in the business. A strong commitment to the Vermeer and John Deere brands is well established by RDO in the United States, and the group aims to bring that same focus to Australian operations.

"The RDO team and the Offutt family have a genuine commitment to the Australian market, running their business for the benefit of all stakeholders, and they remain committed to the values that have made them successful the past 50 years. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring these three companies together as one team," Whitcombe says.

On a recent visit to Australia, RDO founder Ron Offutt expressed excitement about the future of the company here.

"We are grateful to have had the opportunity to invest in Australia, for the partnership we have had with the Vandersee family, and for the continued commitment of Bruce Vandersee along with Peter Pullan and Ian Jensen of Vermeer Australia to our consolidated business. In bringing our three operations together, we are building a stronger, more diversified enterprise that will allow us to better serve our customers," he says.

Whitcombe says RDO Australia Group will benefit from the deep experience of Vandersee, Pullan and Jensen, who will be shareholders and directors of the RDO Australia Group.

"The new RDO Australia Group will be built on the strong legacies of the Vanderfield and Vermeer Australia businesses, focused on their customers’ long-term success. Peter, Ian and Bruce have committed decades of hard work to serving customers across Queensland and eastern Australia, and I know their continuing contribution to RDO Australia Group will be incredibly valuable," she says.

Whitcombe says RDO Australia Group is focused on ensuring the transition is smooth for both customers and staff.

"We’re planning the transition carefully and working closely with our teams across all our businesses," she says.


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