Nutrien Ag Solutions has sold a key live export business to the Rothwell family's Winten Group in what is the first major divestment since the merger of the Ruralco and Landmark businesses in 2019.
In a statement provided to Australian Community Media, Nutrien Ag said it would be selling its Landmark International division which exports beef and dairy cattle and sheep to markets across the globe including China, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Turkey and Israel.
The deal does not include Frontier International Agri, the live export business formerly owned by Ruralco.
A spokesperson for Nutrien Ag Solutions said it would be "business as usual" for Frontier International Agri which is primarily focused on the live export of cattle to south east Asian markets.
"Landmark International and Frontier service different markets, with the former focused on cattle from Southern Australia," the spokesperson said.
"In 2016-2017, Landmark International exported approximately 125,000 head, from Portland and Freemantle, to Russia, China, Mexico and Israel. The majority of these animals were cattle, sold for breeding and feeding. By comparison, Frontier operates largely in the north of the country."
Nutrien Ag Solutions managing director Rob Clayton said the company remained fully supportive of the live export industry which would continue to be an important market for many Nutrien clients.
He also confirmed that existing client contracts would be completed.
"While Nutrien Ag Solutions will not own the Landmark International business going forward, live export will remain a key channel for our livestock agents across the country as they seek out markets for their client's livestock," he said.
"As always, our relationships with our livestock clients and ongoing support of the Australian livestock industry remain paramount."
Mr Clayton said Landmark International was a successful business that reflected best practice in the live export industry.
"I am extremely pleased Andy Ingle and his team who have shepherded this business to such success to date will now lead it independently. It is a great outcome for Australian livestock producers," he said.
Mr Clayton said during what is a very difficult time for Australian agriculture, "the time is right for Nutrien Ag Solutions to focus on what it does best, working closely with our clients to identify the best markets for their livestock."
Live Corp chairman Troy Setter said the industry body was looking forward to working with the new owners of Landmark International.
"It is good to see continued investment and new capital sources coming into the live export industry," he said.
"Demand for quality Australian livestock for meat, milk, wool and breeding continues to grow and we look forward to working with the new owners of the business."
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Click here to sign up to receive our daily Farmonline.