Deere & Co. said June 5 it has acquired the remainder of Israel-based Plastro Irrigation Systems Ltd., a maker of mostly plastic irrigation equipment and supplies.
Plastro is being combined with John Deere Water Technologies in San Marcos, Calif., and agricultural drip-tape maker T-Systems International Inc. of San Diego. Deere & Co. of Moline, Ill., acquired T-Systems in May. It formed the Water Technologies unit in June 2006 when it bought injection molder/extruder Roberts Irrigation Products Inc. of San Marcos.
The addition of Plastro doubles Water Technologies' employment to 1,500 and, according to Deere, makes John Deere the world's third-largest agricultural irrigation firm, behind Netafilm Ltd. of Tel Aviv, Israel, and Valmont Industries Inc. of Valley, Neb.
Plastro of D.N. Ha'Amakim, Israel, makes drip emitters, sprayers, sprinklers, foggers, mist devices and accessories. The products include PVC and polyethylene feeder tubes; a low-flow fogger with an acetal vortex and polybutylene terephthalate orifice cap and cross adaptor; and a take-apart on-line dripper with a polypropylene base and PBT cap.
While terms of the Plastro deal were not announced, Deere agreed in March to acquire control of Plastro from Kibbutz Gvat for 265 million new Israeli shekels ($73 million), according to ``Israel High-Tech & Investment Report.'' The newsletter said the kibbutz owned 75.1 percent of Plastro through subsidiary Gvat Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative Business Ltd., and the public owned 24.9 percent. Now, Deere owns 100 percent.
A preliminary agreement in July 2007 called for Deere to employ Kibbutz Gvat members at Plastro for 15 years and obtain a 10-year noncompete agreement from the kibbutz.
Billionaire entrepreneur John Gandel of Melbourne, Australia, acquired 50 percent ownership of Plastro in 2006 and sold the interest in May 2007 when Gvat exercised a right to buy back the holdings for NIS95 million (US$23.6 million). Gvat paid Gandel for the shares using a Deere loan that was guaranteed by an attachment to 61.8 percent of Plastro's shares.
A separate Kibbutz Gvat subsidiary, Palad Infrastructure and Pipes Ltd., makes large-bore pipes of steel-reinforced polyethylene.