KWS to focus on hybrid potato breeding

KWS is to sell its conventional seed potato business as part of its plan to focus on developing hybrid potato varieties. Based in Einbeck, Germany, KWS said in a press […]
Wed 13/04/2016

KWS is to sell its conventional seed potato business as part of its plan to focus on developing hybrid potato varieties.

Based in Einbeck, Germany, KWS said in a press release that the sale to seed potato company Stet Holland B.V. is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

It said the KWS Group’s seed potato business is steered by its subsidiary KWS POTATO B.V., which is based in Emmeloord, the Netherlands. “Varieties and potato breeding material dedicated to French fries, crisps and table potatoes for traditional export markets are to be sold to Stet Holland BV, a Dutch company also based in Emmeloord,” the release said.

“The future owner Stet Holland offers good perspectives for a successful continuation of our conventional potato business while KWS will fully focus its efforts in potato utilizing its resources and know-how as a breeder to develop hybrid varieties,” said Peter Hofmann, a member of the KWS SAAT SE executive board. “Hybrid breeding in potato and multiplication via seed instead of tubers is an entirely new but highly promising approach that has considerable advantages compared to conventional breeding. We have been working in this innovative field since 2011 and have meanwhile achieved significant progress,” he said.

Stet Holland general manager Peter Ton said the markets for the current KWS and Stet varieties are very complementary.

“Taking over KWS’ variety portfolio, seed potato production, and sales channels will enable us to create synergies and gain presence in key markets and specific processing segments,” he said.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial terms of this transaction.

KWS will continue its hybrid potato breeding activities under the roof of KWS POTATO B.V. The breeding station in Emmeloord, the Netherlands, is an important part of KWS’ global research network and offers excellent conditions for these activities, KWS said in the release.

KWS said it is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies, focusing on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, potatoes, rapeseed and sunflowers. “In fiscal 2014/15, 4,700 employees in 70 countries generated net sales of €986 million and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of €113 million.”

Stet Holland has a strong basis of affiliated seed potato growers in various regions in the Netherlands and annual turnover of about €20 million. A subsidiary of HZPC Holding, it acts independently from the HZPC seed potato business. The Stet Holland portfolio includes the varieties Amarin, Bellini, Dirosso, Safari, Sultana, Triplo, Vitalia and Zina Red.

Source: KWS to fully focus on hybrid potato breeding and divest its conventional seed potato business