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BayWa gets OIO approval to buy Turners & Growers

Wednesday 7th March 2012

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Germany’s BayWa Atiengesellschaft has secured Overseas Investment Office approval for its takeover of local fruit marketer Turners & Growers, and has declared its offer unconditional.

The German company, which has global investments across the building, energy and agriculture sectors, has bought some 72.5 percent of T&G shares at a cost of about $157 million and will close its offer today, it said in a statement.

“The takeover is a ground-breaking step towards internationalisation of BayWa,” the company said.

Group chief executive Klaus Josef Lutz will take T&G’s chair, and the company will appoint chief financial officer Andreas Helber, board member responsible for agriculture and fruit Josef Krapf, and head of fruit Dietmar Bahler to the board.

Last week, T&G posted an annual loss of $18.9 million after writing down the value of its kiwifruit orchards as the vine bacteria Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae ravages the local industry.

The fruit marketer also had to shave $3.1 million from its bottom line to pay for legal and advisory costs relating to the takeover, and would also lose an $8.5 million deferred tax asset once control changed hands.

BayWa’s $1.85-per-share offer fell within independent adviser KordaMentha’s range and secured a recommendation from T&G’s independent directors for shareholders to sell.

That’s a 2.2 percent premium to the $1.81 price the shares last traded at on Monday.

Though the German company wanted full ownership, Scales Corp, which owns the Mr Apple packing business, bought up 10.3 percent of T&G’s stock, saying it wanted the fruit market to stay listed.

T&G owns Enza, New Zealand's largest apple exporter and Mr Apple is one of Enza's largest customers.

BayWa’s shares fell 1.6 percent to 28.57 euros on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange yesterday.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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