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October 10, 2010

US agricultural concern to acquire majority stake in South African seed company

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a US-based agricultural business, and Pannar Seed, a South African-based seed company with operations throughout Africa and other parts of the world, recently announced an agreement for Pioneer to purchase a majority share of Pannar.

According to a press release, financial terms were not disclosed for the agreement, which is subject to review by the South African Competition Commission and other countries’ regulatory agencies. Pending regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close in early 2011. Pannar management, employees, facilities and brands will be retained.

Pannar has its own seed businesses in nine countries in Africa, including South Africa, and sells through established marketing networks into nine other African countries. In addition to its extensive research infrastructure in Africa, it also conducts research and commercial activities in the U.S. and Argentina and has a genetics licensing business in Europe.

“This is good news for our customers, for our employees and for South Africa,” said Brian Corbishley, Pannar chairman. “Pioneer is the ideal partner for the long-term growth of our business. They’ll help us meet our customers’ increasing needs for better and higher-yielding products and services.”

The investment is expected to allow each business to access additional crop areas, reach more customers and deliver improved seed products quicker than either can do on its own. Pannar receives access to Pioneer’s genetics library and its maize breeding and biotechnology capabilities which will benefit its African operations and its businesses in the United States and Argentina. Pioneer will tap into Pannar’s expertise and reach across Africa and its maize genetics developed specifically for the region.

With approximately 30 million hectares available for maize production, Africa represents a significant opportunity for improved productivity. Average grain yields are just one tonne per hectare, less than one-third of what is achieved in other developing regions and only one-fifth of yields in developed countries.

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