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BayWa willing to be majority holder of NZX-listed Turners & Growers

Friday 23rd December 2011

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Germany’s BayWa Aktiengesellschaft said it is willing to be the majority owner of fruit and vegetable marketing company Turners & Growers after a rival horticultural firm emerged with enough shares of the target company to block a full takeover.

Scales Corp, the apple processing company sold by South Canterbury Finance’s receivers, said yesterday it had bought 5.95 percent of Turners & Growers and had an option to buy a further 4.03 percent. Scales said it isn’t planning a bid of its own, supports the target company remaining NZX listed and wants to participate in any consolidation in the industry.

“BayWa reiterates that it is prepared to be a majority shareholder in an NZX-listed T&G,” it said in a statement today.

The German company already has agreed to buy Guinness Peat Group’s 63 percent stake in Turners & Growers and its offer “is not conditional on achieving any further acceptances.”

It has approval for the deal from the German Federal Cartel Office although it said today it doesn’t expect clearance from New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office before the offer closes on Jan. 9. As a result, BayWa intends to extend the offer period, it said.

Scales, which owns the Mr Apple business, the nation’s largest integrated grower and exporter of apples, was advised by First NZ Capital.  Direct Capital acquired South Canterbury’s 79.7% holding in Scales from the receivers for $44 million. Shares of Turners & Growers last traded at $1.80, below BayWa’s $1.85-per-share offer.

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