Buhler Industries

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Buhler Industries Inc.
Type Public
Industry Farm & Construction Machinery
Headquarters Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Key people Dmitry Lyubimov, President
Owner(s) Combine Factory Rostselmash[1]
Employees 1100
Divisions Versatile & Farm King
Website http://www.buhlerindustries.com/

Buhler Industries Inc. (TSXBUI) was established in 1969 when John Buhler purchased "Standard Gas Engine Works", which was founded in 1932. The company produced the Farm King line of grain augers, snowblowers, mowers and compact implements. Buhler Industries expanded in 1982 with the purchase of the Allied line of front-end loaders and the company began trading on the TSE in 1994, at which time all products were marketed under the "Buhler" brand name.

In 2000, the company acquired the Versatile Tractor division of New Holland Ag. Buhler purchased the Versatile tractor plant with a $32-million government loan.[2] According to labour historian Doug Smith, Buhler "provoked a strike by demanding a gutting of benefits and seniority provisions in the union contract".[2] The result was a prolonged strike that almost crippled the plant. However, the union took Buhler to the Manitoba Labour Board charging bargaining in bad faith and won a $6-million dollar settlement.[2][3][4]

In 2005, Buhler pledged $5 million to build a performing arts centre at the Morden Collegiate high school in Morden, Manitoba.[5] The donation was eventually withdrawn in the face of community opposition to the project and cost overruns.[5]

In January 2010, John Buhler and his wife Bonnie were feted by Lloyd Axworthy President of the University of Winnipeg after the retired industrialist gave the university $4 million to construct a building in Buhler's name.[6] Axworthy noted, without any hint of irony, that "John and Bonnie Buhler recognize that investing in people is critical".[6] However, this statement appears to be at odds with Buhler's conduct during the 2001 strike at Versatile, the result of which was that "Over 250 men, all of them with at least twenty years of experience, lost their jobs."[7]

The Buhler Centre at the University of Winnipeg has been roundly criticized by students as "unfit" for their needs.[8] According to a report in the University of Winnipeg Student Newspaper The Uniter students report a laundry list of problems with the building. “There is a design flaw. Whoever designed the building didn’t consult properly on how to design a classroom,” said Kelvin Huska, a student in the U of W’s project management program. “It’s too noisy and the classrooms have obstructions.”[8]

In November 2007, Russian Combine Factory Rostselmash purchased 80% of the common shares of Buhler Industries Inc ,[9] effectively acquiring managing control of the company. The company experienced significant growth between 2008 and 2013 and acquired several companies including Redball (Willmar, MN), Feterl Manufacturing (Salem, SD),[10] and Ezee-On (Vegreville, AB).[11] The company is moving toward developing a full-line of product for large-acre growers.[12]

The company announced the second-highest earnings in history for fiscal year 2013.[13]

In March 2014, there were calls for sanctions against several Russian members of Buhler's board of directors in connection to Vladamir Putin's actions in Crimea.[14] Konstantin Babkin, Yury Ryazanov and Dmitry Udrasm are connected to Rostselmash Ltd. and are said to be members of Russia's Action Party.[14] According to media reports, a video has recently emerged from a rally in Moscow that shows Babkin publicly supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine.[14] In March 2014, the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress called for an investigation of the Russian members of Buhler's board of directors.[15] No action was taken and no sanctions were placed on Buhler Industries or the board of directors. [Reference needed]

John Buhler was made a Member of the Order of Canada (CM) in June 2012 with the citation: "For his contributions as an entrepreneur and philanthropist to education, health care and arts organizations in his province as an entrepreneur and philanthropist."[16]

Buhler Industries Inc. operates a total of eight factories in Canada and the United States. It is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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