Versatile owner Buhler acquired by Turkey’s Basak Traktor

The Russian owners of Buhler Industries, the manufacturer of Versatile tractors and Farm King equipment based in Winnipeg, Canada, are bailing out of the business after 16 years.

The 97% of Buhler shares owned by Rostselmash are being purchased by Turkish engineering group Asko Holding through its Basak Traktor operation, plus all debt, for the equivalent of £36m.

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Over the past 10 years, Buhler Industries has averaged £165m turnover from tractor, implement and equipment sales, but profitability was badly hit by the pandemic and subsequent component supply issues.

Buhler’s new owner, Basak Traktor, produces tillage, planting, plant protection and harvesting machinery at a factory complex two hours’ drive east of Istanbul, as well as farm tractors up to 120hp.

The relatively new 5100-series, using ZF transmissions, Deutz engines and other familiar components, was developed for UK and EU sales and first exhibited at the Royal Highland Show in 2019; the tractors will be at Lamma later this month as the business continues to seek dealers.

Back in 2007, Rostselmash saw its purchase of Buhler Industries as a means of acquiring a range of high-horsepower four-wheel-drive tractors to complement its combines in domestic and neighbouring markets, and also an opportunity to enter the North American market.

Buhler announced a search for an investment partner in mid-2023, and while Kubota might have been expected to step forward given its long-term agreement for the production of jointly developed 175-210hp tractors at the Winnipeg plant, Basak and its Asko Holdings parent have now snapped up the entire business.

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