AUSTRALIAN Grain Technologies (AGT) and InterGrain have begun formal negotiations on a deal to strengthen Australian-focused cereal breeding.
The proposal under discussion would see AGT acquire InterGrain, bringing together two local plant breeding companies focused on the development and adoption of improved varieties to meet the unique needs of Australian grain growers.
AGT said it was excited by the opportunity to build on the outstanding work of InterGrain and to strengthen the capacity of AGT to continue to deliver better genetic results to farmers.
“Bringing InterGrain wheat and barley breeding expertise, germplasm and people into AGT will help to strengthen our breeding team while accelerating our impact in barley and udon noodle wheat genetics,” said AGT chief executive officer, Haydn Kuchel.
“We want to see the InterGrain germplasm used by AGT to deliver the most value possible for Australia’s growers.
“Our company will take the latest in breeding technologies and scientific knowledge and combine it with teams who live and breathe Australian farming, to help improve the prosperity of Australian grain growers, especially those within InterGrain’s heartland, Western Australia.”
In recent times, InterGrain has reviewed a broad range of options to ensure its barley and wheat breeding programs continue to deliver maximum benefit for growers.
InterGrain chief executive officer, Tress Walmsley, said growers should be excited about the future of cereal breeding, including in noodle varieties and barley, based on combined expertise of InterGrain and AGT.
“We have entered into formal negotiations with AGT but I want to make it clear that this is a long way from being a done deal and many steps (including due diligence, commercial negotiations on the terms and regulatory review) need to be completed before a transaction occurs,” Ms Walmsley said.
“It is early days but there is potential for this transaction to ensure the Australian grains industry is serviced by a plant breeding company with the resources, expertise and scale to develop the best possible new varieties for local conditions over the long-term.
“This would achieve the combined goals of making grain growers more internationally competitive and able to meet the needs of consumers here and overseas.”
Ms Walmsley said InterGrain staff and industry stakeholders had been briefed on the preliminary discussions and would be kept up to date with any developments.
AGT expects to grow its already strong presence in Western Australia if it acquires InterGrain.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be reviewing the details of the potential acquisition.
AGT and InterGrain aim to have any deal completed in time for commencement of the 2017 field season to ensure maximum benefit for the industry.
Source: AGT, www.agtbreeding.com.au/agt-intergrain-update/