South Africa blocks DuPont bid for seed producer Pannar Seed

The South African regulator has blocked the proposed takeover of local seed firm Pannar Seed by chemical giant E I DuPont de Nemours & Co.

In September 2010, DuPont's South African subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred had proposed to buy a majority stake in Pannar, the largest seed company in Africa and a significant competitor in the international seed industry.

South African Competition Commission rejected the deal since there were only three companies in the seed business in South Africa, and the deal would have reduced competition between just two firms, including the merged entity.

While making its proposal, Des Moines, Iowa-based Pioneer said the partnership would help it develop genetically engineered crops specifically tailored to different regions of Africa.

With an eye on the approximately 75 million acres (30 million hectares) available for maize production, Pioneer said, ''Africa represents a significant opportunity for improved productivity. Average grain yields are just one ton per hectare, less than one-third of what is achieved in other developing regions and only one-fifth of yields in developed countries.''

In a statement put out yesterday, Pioneer Hi-Bred said that it intends to appeal the decision taken by the South African Competition Commission.