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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Belgium-based Biobest buys Kenyan pest control firm

Belgian biological controls specialist, Biobest, has acquired Thika­based pest­control firm Real IPM Kenya. Biobest, a leading global player in pollination and biological pest control, said the acquisition would allow it get a strong foothold in a part of the world where it has no presence. The Kenya firm has a broad market presence in the export­driven flower market and among smallholder grain farmers. Details of the stake and its worth were not disclosed. The transaction is, however, due to close in early 2017 subject to authorisation by the Competition Authority of Kenya and other regulators. Jean­Marc Vandoorne, chief executive of Biobest, said: “Our goal is to serve the needs of growers on a worldwide basis in our strategic crops. East and southern Africa is not only a hotspot for floriculture and horticulture, but also for citrus and other open field crops. With Real IPM Kenya we immediately play in the premier league in this part of the world.” Mr Vandoorne said the partnership would help develop Real IPM’s product offering based on Biobest’s product portfolio and research and development pipeline. He termed the acquisition a major competitive advantage, which would give it a strong production infrastructure in East Africa.“Local customers enjoy good quality and competitive prices in view of the excellent production conditions for bio­control agents in this region. That explains why it is really difficult to be strong in the local market without local production,” he said. The 15­year­old Real IPM Kenya was started by Henry Wainwright and Louise Labuschagne. Mr Wainwright will continue as general manager of Real IPM Kenya for the next two years to ensure continuity and a seamless transition, said the firm in a statement. “We passionately wanted to bring affordable and effective biological solutions to African farmers. Thanks to a strong and committed team, a broad product portfolio and unique bio­pesticides, and a diverse and loyal customer­base in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Africa and beyond, we can be proud of our success,” said Mr Wainwright after the acquisition.