EWR, Inc., the cotton industry's largest provider of electronic cotton warehouse receipt services, has purchased all of the assets of eCotton, the largest producer of cotton gin and cotton warehouse software.

A contract was agreed to between the two companies, and the sale finalized on April 1.

“We feel the two companies complement one another well and their combination will create a number of positive synergies that will benefit the cotton industry,” said Russell Marks, representing the ownership of eCotton.

Those synergies include making communications between gin and warehouse software packages and the electronic receipt system better integrated and easy to use, according to EWR, Inc., president and CEO Joe Wyrick.

Both companies provide electronic warehouse receipts and software support for gins and warehouses. EWR, Inc. has the lion's share of the electronic receipts business, while eCotton provides software support for three times as many gins and warehouses.

Employees at both companies will be cross trained in common products, according to Wyrick. “By bringing the two companies together we can offer better support because the user can call one place.”

The eCotton name will be retained and the company will continue to provide electronic receipts, “but at some point, we'll combine the two receipt systems,” Wyrick said.

Increased efficiencies will help keep costs down, meaning price increases to users are not likely to occur as a result of the buyout, according to Wyrick. He also noted EWR, Inc. bylaws require that the company's corporate stock holders earn their living in the cotton industry. As users of EWR products, they would pay for price increases, just like other users would.

eCotton's premier software products include the Windows Gin and Warehouse package, noted Wyrick. “These are outstanding programs that are Windows software and are predominate in the industry.”

eCotton's Bale Entry Utilities is used by the gin and warehouse to record information on bales and either put that information on a disk or transmit it to the office computer. CottonHost allows a gin to put production information up on a secure Web site, and the farmer can access a number of reports about his cotton.

eCotton also offers a backup service for backing up data at the gin and warehouse, according to Wyrick. “All companies tend to have bumps in the road when it comes to backing up systems and this is a service to provide a good, remote backup at the eCotton office.”

eCotton was formed toward the end of the 1990s and purchased DTN Cotton Network in 2000 and IDI Companies in 2001. EWR, Inc., was founded in 1994. Last fall, EWR expanded its electronic receipt service to the peanut industry.