German company gets OIO nod to buy Turners & Growers

BayWa Aktiengesellschaft's takeover of Turners & Growers will go unconditional tonight.

The Overseas Investment Office has cleared the way for German company BayWa Aktiengesellschaft’s takeover of Turners & Growers (T&G).

BayWa has now declared its $1.85-a-share offer unconditional, and its takeover offer will close tonight.

It has already paid about $157 million for its current 72.5% stake in T&G - New Zealand’s biggest fresh produce exporter.

In November it launched the $1.85-a-share offer, valuing T&G at $216 million, after Guinness Peat Group agreed to sell its 63 % stake.

The timeframe was later extended to allow time for the Overseas Investment Office to approve the proposal.

BayWa’s chief executive Klaus Josef Lutz will become the chairman of T&G, and bring three other BayWa executives to the board.

T&G’s current chairman, Rob Campbell said the announcement resolves a period of uncertainty for shareholders, staff and suppliers.

“The board and management are looking forward to completion of the acquisition and working with the new controlling shareholder,” Mr Campbell said in a statement..

“We all see a growing and strong future for the business working with BayWa globally to grow the presence of New Zealand products around the world and an efficient fruit and produce market in New Zealand."

T&G posted an annual loss of $19 million. It said the BayWa takeover offer had played havoc with accounts, with T&G expecting the loss of a $8.5 million deferred tax asset from its Inglis subsidiary and the likely payment of a $3.1 million transaction fee.

T&G shares (TUR) are trading at $1.81.

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