Belgian crop protection firm Biobest has acquired Kenyan biopesticide firm Real IPM in a deal designed to boost market presence for both companies.
Real IPM co-founder Henry Wainwright will continue in the role of general manager in Kenya for the next two years to ensure a seamless transition, a statement said.
Real IPM is present in the UK through subsidiary Real IPM UK, but will grow its profile in Europe via its new parent company. Biobest will benefit from the deal by gaining access to local infrastructure to produce biopesticides in Kenya, as well eastern and southern African citrus and field crop growers.
Along with co-founder Louise Labuschagne, Wainwright said the pair is confident they have found the right corporate partner to protect and develop Real IPM’s sustainable values. They founded the company to bring affordable and effective bio controls to African growers and farmers, but will now dedicate more time to family, a statement said.
Biobest CEO Jean-Marc Vandoorne said: ”East and Southern Africa is 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. We very much respect the position the company has built and are therefore grateful that Henry is prepared to continue to take the helm.
“We are confident that we can help develop Real IPM’s product offering based on our own product portfolio and R&D pipeline. The product portfolio of Real IPM Kenya, and its partner company Real IPM UK, is also complementary to ours in other markets.”
Wainwright said: “We started Real IPM Kenya about 15 years ago. We passionately wanted to bring affordable and effective biological solutions to African farmers. Thanks to a strong and committed team, a broad product portfolio with several beneficials and unique biopesticides, and a diverse and loyal customer-base in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South-Africa and beyond, we can be proud of our success.
“Opportunities for further growth abound, but for us the time has come to start preparing for a phase in life during which we can dedicate more time to our family.
“We were looking for a corporate partner that would be sensitive to our personal and corporate values, and that we can trust to further build on the strong foundations that we have laid. We are very confident that Biobest is the right partner for us.”
Vandoorne added: “Finally, it is a major competitive advantage to have 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.”
Real IPM’s primary market in Kenya is cut flower exporters and small-scale growers. Biobest, headquartered in Belgium, is a leading player in pollination and biological control.