Pioneer to buy stake in African seed company

by Eric Schroeder
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DES MOINES, IOWA — Pioneer Hi-Bred on Sept. 15 reached agreement to acquire a majority share in South African-based seed company Pannar Seed Ltd. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The purchase is subject to approval by the South African Competition Commission and other countries’ regulatory agencies. The transaction is expected to close in early 2011 if approved.

Pannar was established in 1958 in Greytown, an agricultural community on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. In the United States, Pannar Seed, Inc. operates principally in the Upper Midwest, with headquarters in Huron, S.D. The company’s product line includes corn, soybeans, alfalfa and sunflowers. Worldwide the company’s products also include grain sorghum, forage sorghum, dry beans, wheat and a comprehensive range of pasture seeds

Pannar operates across much of the globe, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Pioneer said the investment will allow both businesses to access additional crop areas, reach more customers and deliver improved seed products quicker than either is able to do on its own. In addition, it will allow Pioneer to tap into Pannar’s reach across Africa and its corn genetics specifically tailored to different regions of Africa.

“Our respect for Pannar, their people and their products runs deep,” said Paul E. Schickler, president of Pioneer, which is a subsidiary of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont Co. “Together with Pannar, we can increase investments in innovative products and services for farmers across Africa. This will enhance productivity, improve food security, and grow our businesses.”

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