Pannar Seed buy-out deal

2010-09-21 00:00

A LEADING global agricultural business, Pioneer Hi-Bred, has agreed to buy a majority stake in the Greytown-based agri-business concern, Pannar Seed.

The deal is one of the largest agribusiness deals in South Africa and it is also the largest external investment by Pioneer Hi-Bred.

The deal is subject to review by the South African Competition Commission and other countries’ regulatory agencies.

U.S.-based Pioneer Hi-Bred is a leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics. It is owned by DuPont, a global science company that employs more than 60 000 people worldwide and whose activities include electronics, agriculture and nutrition.

Pannar Seed is the largest independent seed group in South Africa and one of the largest crop seed suppliers in Africa. It operates across the globe, including a number of African countries, the U.S. and Argentina.

Pannar Seed’s MD, Deon van Rooyen, told The Witness the firm has been working on the deal for the past year or two, and said it will be good for both parties and local farmers, as well as for Africa.

He added that Pannar will also gain access to Pioneer Hi-Bred’s advanced breeding technologies.

Both companies have large genetic pools that can be combined to create more exciting products, Van Rooyen said.

“We’ve been looking for partners to provide technical and additional genetics for a number of years.

“Pannar has done very well already. This will allow us to stay ahead of the game and grow into the future.”

Pioneer will be able to increase its footprint in Africa, exploiting its untapped agricultural potential and helping to improve crop yields across the continent.

It will also benefit from a wider genetic pool, as well as additional business in the region.

Van Rooyen said Pannar is deeply committed to Africa, adding that Pannar recently refurbished its processing facilities in Zimbabwe.

Farmers, particularly small-scale growers, will also benefit from the deal, said Van Rooyen.

He said that Pioneer is looking into improving nitrogen efficiency in plants and enhancing drought-resistance technologies.

Pannar’s chairperson, Brian Corbishley, described the deal as “good news for customers, employees and for South Africa”, adding that Pioneer is the ideal partner for the long-term growth of Pannar.

Pannar management, employees, facilities and brands will be retained.

The companies said the deal is expected to close in early 2011.

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