23 April 1998
Unilever to sell PBI Cambridge

By FWi staff

INTERNATIONAL conglomerate Unilever announced today that it intends to sell PBI Cambridge – its plant breeding subsidiary.

Peter Slator, PBI Cambridge chairman, said: “The proposed sale recognises PBI Cambridges need to develop further its plant breeding capacity by gaining access to the research and development of a global plant science company.”

“The decision to sell PBI Cambridge is based on achieving a strategic fit with just such a business. The board of PBI Cambridge fully supports the move, and believes it to be in the best interests of the company, its employees and UK agriculture,” he said.

PBI Cambridge was acquired by Unilever from the British Government in 1987, and had a turnover of £16 million last year. It employs just over 300 people, primarily in Cambridge, England, but also has operations in France, Germany and Scotland.

Mr Slator said the Government had been informed of Unilevers intention to sell the business. JP Morgan has been appointed by Unilever to advise, and conduct the sale, on its behalf.

PBI Cambridge is a large player in European seeds market, particularly in winter wheat where it is the market leader in Europe. It also has significant breeding programmes for barley, oilseed rape, pulses and potato, and sells seed varieties in many European markets.