Kubota gains control of Kverneland

Kubota has effectively secured control of Kverneland now that investors have agreed to sell more than 78% of shares in the Norwegian implement maker.

The deal will turn Kubota into a long-line player in the global agricultural machinery market, with Kverneland’s extensive portfolio of equipment for grass and arable farmers complementing Kubota’s own products, which almost exclusively serve the Asian rice paddy market.

It also meets the ambitions of Kubota chairman and CEO, Yasuo Masumoto, who only last year declared his intention to move into the “dry farming” equipment sector by identifying and acquiring relevant technologies.

Kverneland will add between £330m and £360m to the £5.4bn sales revenues generated by Kubota’s farm and industrial machinery division. This produces the company’s familiar tractors, groundscare equipment, small diesel engines and light construction equipment, as well as paddy rice transplanters, harvesters and processing machinery.

British farmers and dealers are unlikely to see much, if any, change as a result of the deal; Kubota’s CEO says he wants Kverneland to continue as it is while exploring opportunities to exploit Kubota’s distribution network, which is strong in Asia and North America.

Kubota announced in December that it planned to launch a friendly bid with the support of the Kverneland board. Indications of counter bids from CNH Global, which only recently signed a distribution agreement for Kverneland grass equipment in the Americas, and Chinese manufacturer Chery Heavy Industries, were scuppered when Kverneland’s biggest shareholder agreed to sell a 30% stake in the business to Kubota.