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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.

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