AGCO buys remaining share in Laverda
By Martin Rickatson
Massey Ferguson parent AGCO has announced that, in a further major step forward in the expansion of its harvesting machinery business and subject to the approval of competition authorities, it has agreed to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Laverda S.p.A from the Italian ARGO Group.
Under the agreement with ARGO, AGCO will assume 100% ownership of Laverda, which also includes Fella-Werke GMBH, a German based manufacturer of grass and hay machinery.
This agreement will build on the joint venture operation established with ARGO in 2007 in which AGCO took a 50% share in Laverda S.p.A. Laverda is based in Breganze, Northern Italy and has been producing AGCO’s Challenger, Fendt and Massey Ferguson combines since 2004. It also manufactures combines under the Laverda brand.
As AGCO’s European harvesting Centre of Excellence for combines, it operates one of the most modern and efficient farm machinery production complexes in Europe.
“This new step underlines AGCO’s long-term strategy to accelerate the development of its harvesting equipment operations and to reinforce the extension of its combine ranges in Europe,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “It is another clear signal that we are fulfilling our pledge to deploy all the resources necessary to support our ambitious plans for the harvesting business with investment in manufacturing and in new product.
“Our working partnership with the Breganze operation has been forged over many years and this is a natural and complementary step for both Laverda and AGCO,” he continued. “Laverda is a leading farm machinery brand with a strong reputation in the marketplace and we have major plans to continue to grow and develop its potential.”
Employing 450 people, the Breganze plant has produced combine harvesters for over 50 years. Certified to ISO quality standards, the current 22 ha site was opened in 1979. Since its collaboration with AGCO, combine production has almost doubled and, with the recent addition of new combine models, is poised for further significant increases. Recent investments have seen a complete reorganisation of the supply chain and production process including the installation of robot welding and a new world class header assembly line.
“The original Joint Venture between AGCO and Laverda announced in June 2007 has been a great success," says Mario Scapin, managing director of Laverda S.p.A.
" AGCO’s complete acquisition of Laverda S.p.A is therefore particularly welcomed by the Laverda team and we are pleased to be part of AGCO’s ambitious plans for the development of its harvesting business in Europe.
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"It is significant that this announcement coincides with the start of production of AGCO’s eight straw walker combines in Breganze, where the first of these combines came off the assembly line in October. We are also proud to say that this will be closely followed in November by the first Breganze produced AGCO Hybrid combines.
“Breganze now produces a full range of combines including 5, 6, and eight-walker machines, as well as the brand new Hybrid combine from AGCO which was presented with the coveted 2010 Machine of the Year award at Germany’s Agritechnica Show.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with ARGO and will continue to look for further strategic opportunities for co-operation between our two companies," said Gary Collar, senior vice president and general manager AGCO, EAME/ANZ.
"Valerio Morra, president of ARGO Group, will remain on the Laverda board of directors. Our acquisition of 100% of Laverda further strengthens AGCO’s base of resources committed to the harvesting business. It underlines our commitment to invest in the Harvesting business and our full ownership of the Breganze combine and Fella hay and forage manufacturing facilities perfectly complements our investment in new product. The recent launch of our new hybrid combine and the self propelled forage harvester are clear signals of our intention to provide more choice for our farming customers throughout the region.
“Both Fella and Laverda brands remain fundamental to the success of our harvesting business and our existing close relationship with the teams in Breganze and at Fella will ensure not only a smooth transition but also a great opportunity to develop sales in these brands as well as our own existing AGCO brands.”