The management of US drilling and cultivation equipment maker Great Plains Manufacturing has revealed it has entered into an agreement for the business’s sale to Japanese tractor, turf machinery and construction equipment giant Kubota Corporation, in a deal worth $430m (£296.4m/€383.5m).
When complete, the move will enable Kubota to further broaden its burgeoning line of farm implements, following its 2012 acquisition of tillage, forage, spraying and spreading firm Kverneland and the launch last year of the M7001 130-170hp tractors, built at a newly-opened factory close to Dunkirk, in northern France.
Great Plains itself has expanded into Europe in recent years, purchasing British cultivator/drill maker Simba and its factory at Sleaford, Lincs, back in April 2010. It already enjoyed ties with Kubota in North America, with its Land Pride arm supplying the Japanese firm with Kubota-branded compact tractor equipment.
Great Plains Manufacturing was founded in 1976 by Roy Applequist and employs over 1,400 people at eight Kansas locations and in Sleaford. It encompasses five divisions: Great Plains Ag, which manufactures seedbed preparation, nutrient application, and seed placement equipment; Land Pride, which makes grounds maintenance tools such as mowers, tillers, rotary cutters, and soil-working equipment; Great Plains International, which sells the company’s products worldwide; Great Plains Trucking, which operates a US-wide fleet of flatbed trucks; and Great Plains Acceptance Corporation, which finances the company’s products. The planned purchase will include all of Great Plains’ businesses.
In the UK, the deal means there will essentially be three independent Kubota-owned companies: at Kubota HQ in Thame, at Kverneland’s premises at St Helens, Merseyside, and at Great Plains at Sleaford.
“Once final, this acquisition is going to lead to great advancements for both businesses without being a significant change for our people,” said Todd Stucke, senior vice president of sales, marketing and product support for Kubota in North America.
“We intend to respect the distinctiveness of the brands, trademarks and operational strengths. Doing so will allow employees, dealers and customers to do business with the same great companies they have come to know and trust.”
Roy Applequist, Great Plains’ founder and chairman will remain on the leadership team to help guide the operations and facilitate a seamless transition, according to the two firms.
“My plan is to play a significant role in helping Great Plains become a vital part of the Kubota family,” said Applequist.
“Great Plains’ leadership position in the agricultural implement business has been earned by striving to do our best in satisfying our customers’ needs, and we are confident that teaming up with Kubota will allow us to continue to uphold this tradition.”
The partnership further builds on Kubota’s presence in Kansas where the company recently announced the establishment of its North American distribution centre in Edgerton, which serves as the primary distribution hub for Kubota parts and whole goods distribution across the US and Canada.
Although it recently announced a number of UK redundancies from its Sleaford factory, Great Plains has developed a number of successful new lines since buying Simba International, including the Centurion and Saxon drill ranges.Google+