PJ & SJ Patterson – Graziers

About Us

Tresswell has been in the Patterson family for 50 years. Tresswell is a prime fattening and breeding property approximately 8,000 Ha in size, located approximately 55 km west of Springsure (west‑southwest of Rockhampton). With sufficient rainfall in the wet season, approximately 200 Ha is cultivated for the harvesting of oats and/or forage sorghum for cattle fattening.

Like most family-run businesses, the time came to “hand over the reins”. In 2007, in line with the family succession plan, Pete and Sue Patterson purchased the family business. Through investment objectives and planned stock growth, they saw the need to secure additional grazing land and remove the risk of an existing agistment arrangement. In June 2018 they purchased another property, ‘Colorado’. Colorado is an established breeding property of approximately 13,200 Ha, 230 km from Tresswell.

Despite challenging times, PJ & SJ Patterson Company has grown to over 3,800 head of cattle on grazing land totalling around 21,200 Ha, with the capacity to increase upwards of 4,100 head of cattle.

To support the business and implement a planned diversification strategy, the Pattersons decided in 2016 to purchase the freehold of a building in William St, Rockhampton. This was fitted out and refurbished to operate as a coffee shop and restaurant known as ‘Dingles’.

Dingles introduced to Rockhampton a family-run outlet with an inherent spirit of country hospitality—a unique environment to gather for speciality coffee, food, drinks and company. Premium quality local whole ingredients are used to create the exceptional food of the Dingles menu, which is dedicated to the primary producers.

“Being introduced to Ash and his team at AAA has enabled us to diversify and grow our business with confidence. They took the time to understand us, to understand our business, supporting us while securing competitive bank rates and assisting with future plans as well as being a practical sounding board. AAA’s years of knowledge and experience of working within the agricultural and lending industries certainly helped to guide us to make better decisions, sustaining us regardless of what the weather throws at us. Without Ash and his team, we would not be travelling as well as we are today!”

Mrs Sue Patterson – Graziers and Restauranteurs

The Challenge

It has been no secret that in recent years farmers have experienced exceptionally tough times, recently having one of the hottest summers on record and one of the driest. To reduce the growing pressures on business, family and ourselves, we had to re-think all aspects of the business. We have designed a best practice, procedures and finance guide for a thorough ‘maintenance check.’ We are using this to map out a plan for the family cattle business to manage these stressors in farming now and in the coming years.

PJ & SJ Patterson is a progressive partnership, which continues to seek opportunities to grow and improve the quality of stock and produce. In doing so, this ensures that PJ & SJ Patterson periodically challenges its own business practices, looking at ways to introduce greater efficiencies and profit margins.

Pete and Sue wanted to engage with an independent company who understood the rural—and specifically cattle farming—business model and who could introduce new ideas to PJ & SJ Patterson. Pete and Sue wanted to explore their current business objectives and current financial commitments to be able to make more informed decisions.

Business Objectives:-

  • Review all financial outlay
    • Property loans, business/personal loans, equipment loans, living expenses
    • Explore market interest rates/terms vs current
    • Create capital to invest
  • Diversity planning
    • A commercial premise in Rockhampton to open coffee shop/restaurant
    • Increased revenue stream
    • Business security
  • Secure grazing land to support increased breeding/cattle head
    • Having reached optimum head capacity on Tresswell, Patterson PJ & SJ arranged agistment on another property to allow growth in preparation for the purchase and immediate stocking of another property
    • In 2017 the owner of that property informed Patterson PJ & SJ that they were selling the entire property
    • Patterson PJ & SJ were immediately faced with;
      • sell down cattle numbers due to insufficient grazing land
      • sell cattle at lighter weights as they would not have the land to fully grow the cattle out
        • this would create longer-term cash-flow concerns weakening their ability to expand
      • seek alternative pastoral agistment or lease
        • this would introduce further challenges
      • purchase Colorado

Downsizing was not an option.

The Solution

We decided to go to market and engage with an independent company who could best serve our complex requirements.

AAA+ Financial Solutions came highly recommended to us. From our very first meeting, Mr Ashley Evans, principal and partner in AAA+ Financial Solutions proved it to be the company that best understood our business objectives and could deliver our short-long term goals.

Their in-depth knowledge of the finance industry, particularly their knowledge around the rural industry, installed in us complete confidence. Together we discussed our business plan and idea. In the following meeting, Ashley presented an innovative financial roadmap demonstrating precisely the benefits and efficiencies (cost and business suitability) that AAA+ Financial Solutions would deliver.

Business Deliverables:-

  • Refinancing of the existing debt obligation
    • AAA+ Financial Solutions negotiated considerably lower Interest rates
      • greater cash-flow
      • increasing net profit
      • freeing capital up
    • Loan facilities that better-suited business needs
    • Dedicated account manager with rural expertise aligned to our needs
  • Coffee Shop
    • AAA+ Financial Solutions assisted in preparing the finance application
    • Benchmarked industry comparison to Rockhampton demographics
    • Validated the accuracy of financial forecasts
    • Integrated sustainability to the business proposition
    • Bank/finance approved loan
    • The attention to detail in the proposal ensured a positive outcome
  • Colorado
    • AAA+ Financial Solutions walked us through each option
      • wait for the property to be sold and negotiate new agistment/lease terms with new owners – HIGH RISK
      • purchase a property – CONTROLLED RISK
    • We agreed to purchase the property
    • Increased benefits
      • proximity for stock movement
      • balance the operation across the various demands on the land
      • rotate between grazing, growing and land management
      • allows us to increase our stock numbers
      • maintain sufficient feed supplies for poor growth cycles periods which are inevitable
    • AAA+ Financial Solutions assisted in preparing the finance application
    • Benchmarked industry comparison to neighbouring properties and equivalent head of cattle
    • Validated the accuracy of financial forecasts
    • Integrated sustainability to the acquisition
    • Bank/finance approved loan
    • The attention to detail in the proposal ensured a positive outcome

The Outcome

Ash and his team delivered everything they promised… and more!! Their depth of knowledge across our industry, coupled with their vast solutions portfolio, has continued to support our business growth and our business needs. Essentially they acted not just as finance seekers for us, but also in a consulting role. This resulted in a comprehensive information package which could be presented to the bank, increasing the lender’s confidence to provide the finance, in turn enabling us to grow and mature our family-run business.

Since the purchase of Colorado, seasonal conditions have been adverse. With additional fencing and accessible water on Colorado, we have been able to balance the stock to the available feed and survive the drought conditions. Had we not acquired Colorado, the outcome would have been very different and our businesses (not too mention our well-being) would be in a very different state.

Recently, we have again engaged with AAA+ Financial Solutions to obtain a cattle purchase facility from the Bank. Again, their comprehensive business planning and financial skillset saw our application being approved first time, enabling us to grow cattle numbers ahead of our projected stock forecast.

With regard to Dingles, our coffee shop and restaurant venture, AAA+ Financial Solutions demonstrated their value with industry-specific research, obtaining benchmarks and discussing with us the types of performance indicators and parameters we would need to operate within. We believe this analysis and level of business planning greatly assisted the bank’s understanding of the business proposal, easing the finance approval.

‘Living bush’ has its challenges with access to bank facilities and professional services. Ash and his team are always prepared to travel and visit us, and our dedicated manager ensures a quarterly account review either delivered on-site or via a webinar. Whether by request from us, or from them to us, we regularly meet to ‘sit down’ and discuss, advise, prepare budgets and generally get to know what we need. They also work very well with our accountant and collaborate to achieve a great outcome. This relationship and experience has assisted us and our business to achieve our goals.

Benefits at a Glance

  • Increased profit margins/cash-flow/capital
  • Balance of work vs family
  • Business direction
  • Reduced impact of poor seasonal conditions
  • Reduction in stock sell-off in drought conditions
  • Increased stock numbers that will assist in long term viability
  • Complete business services not just a broker
    • We are graziers and our main skills are in cattle production
    • We see AAA+ Financial Solutions as an important partner in our business, and they have the skills and the desire to work with us to obtain the best outcomes for us
    • They bring depth to our business by providing the skills and resources we don’t have
  • Industry expertise
    • The people that we deal with at AAA+ Financial Solutions have many years combined Agribusiness Lending experience
    • This is of a significant benefit to us because they understand!
  • Dingles: At each review time, Ash and his team also discuss with us and our accountant the performance of the coffee shop against benchmarks and forecasting
    • This enables us to take any corrective action if required in terms of working within benchmarks
  • Single point of contact
  • AAA+ Financial Solutions is a professional company that simplifies processes and communicates at a level I can understand
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