FitzGerald MyPlant Lab Joint Venture
Plant Tissue Culture business development.
LowesTCe a joint venture company between MyPlant® Tissue Culture Laboratory wholly owned by FitzGerald Nurseries, Kilkenny Ireland, and Lowes TC Pty Ltd, the leading Australian Plant Tissue Culture service provider, has taken over the business of MyPlant® Laboratory at Enniscorthy, Co Wexford Ireland. The new JV Company is effective from the 1st of July 2015. The two companies are rural, family run businesses based in Ireland and Australia operating separately for over 25 years. Minister Paul Kehoe, who has given great encouragement to the new Joint Venture, visited the lab on August 31st to welcome Lowes TC owners Greg and Margaret Lowe to Enniscorthy and was updated on progress to date.
FitzGerald Nurseries Owner / Managing Director, Pat FitzGerald explains “as managing director of Gadera Ltd our wholly owned laboratory company I saw many opportunities evolving for the company on international markets and the home market that we were not taking advantage of due to limited time, technical focus and funding. With Lowes TC now coming in as the managing partner of this new JV company I expect the business will fulfill the potential of this technology and increase our exports.” Lowes TC Pty is recognized as the biggest and best TC lab in Australia producing millions of plants each year from over 1,000 cultivars in their Australian and Indian labs. FitzGerald Nurseries has developed sales and plant IP in 26 countries and will continue to play a major role in hardening the laboratory output, product development, assessment and strategic planning for this new venture. Regarding changes ahead Pat says “our existing customers and suppliers will see little change in how we operate sales and distribution". The availability of more stock, safer supply chain, more value through consistent quality, larger numbers and a wider range of plants will follow over the coming two years. All this will be achieved through careful, focused and strategic supply chain development and management.”
Lowes TC Director, Simon Pettinger says “the formation of LowesTCe allows the proven service solutions developed by Lowes TC in Australia over the last 20 years to now be available in Europe. The specialized Tissue Culture software we have developed along with our leading edge TC tech allows us to do 5,000 per year plant lines just as efficiently as those 200,000+ per year plant lines. Customers get exclusive and confidential propagation of their IP plant lines and we don’t charge for the R&D costs of developing new commercial plants into TC. We plan to grow LowesTCe rapidly over the next few years, bringing a new type of commercial plant TC lab and great customer service to Ireland for all of Europe.”
Greg Lowe the founder of the Lowes TC group is excited that the Lowes TCe facility allows the group to easily service the EU with production of high health, uniform TC plants, solving quarantine and supply issues and developing new markets for plant breeders. The close relationship with FitzGerald Nurseries means that high quality hardened plants will also be available to all European customers. “Lowes TC do not market plants we market our service to our customers and our reliability to execute R&D on plants that others feel are not profitable or impossible in TC. We do not have an elaborate website, instead we spend our time and money on the development of plants into commercial tissue culture and let our reputation be our advertising. We are open now to discuss opportunities with European plant marketers. Breeders and growers looking for alternative suppliers should give us a try.”
Rural employment impact.
FitzGerald Nurseries employs 25 people at its Kilkenny facilities and 1 in Germany. The overall number of employees will grow to 30 people over the coming months. Lowes TC group currently employs over 140 staff outside of Ireland. The Enniscorthy tissue culture facility previously employed 13 people, this has grown to 17 since July. To meet current demand it is envisaged Lowes TCe will grow to 25 staff over the coming months and to 50 within 2-3 years. Expectations based on identified opportunities are that staffing requirement within 5 years could exceed 100 people in Enniscorthy. FitzGerald Nurseries will require over 50 people to cater for this volume expansion. The new company will need additional buildings for this expansion. The net impact of this JV in 5 years will impact the South East facilities by increasing from a current 40 people to a combined 150 people with approximately 10% being science graduates. This joint venture business brings significant technology, added value export and career opportunities to the Irish Horticulture industry. It is a great example of progressive agricultural innovation at rural town and farm level based on existing and future export market development.
For further details contact Pat FitzGerald. Phone +353 (0)87 2603473