Bovine genetics company to buy Sygen

U.K.-based Genus plc. to buy Sygen International plc, a world leader in pig and shrimp genetics.
November 2, 2005

Basingstoke U.K.-based Genus plc., announced that it has reached agreement for a recommended cash offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sygen International plc, a world leader in pig and shrimp genetics. The Offer values Sygen at approximately £187 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, Richard Wood, Chief Executive of Genus, said: “This acquisition is an exciting and rare opportunity to create a world leading animal genetics company.

“Much of the science and technology of Genus and Sygen is complementary. We believe that the enlarged group will have an improved chance of making a technological breakthrough, whilst, the increased diversity will allow commercialisation across more species.

“We are pleased that the offer has been unanimously recommended by the Board of Sygen and commend it to shareholders of both companies.”

Also commenting on the Offer, Brian Baldock, Chairman of Sygen, said: 'We firmly believe that this offer is in the interests of Sygen's shareholders, customers and employees.  For several years, Sygen's management has pursued a clear and consistent growth strategy which offers considerable long term potential.  However, this potential, and in particular the implementation of our multi-species strategy, is likely to be realised more quickly in conjunction with Genus.  For our shareholders, this cash offer delivers both certainty and a substantial premium.'

About the companies:

Sygen is a world leader in applying quantitative genetics and biotechnology to animal breeding.  Sygen's technology, products and services enable pig and shrimp producers and farmers to enhance meat quality and improve efficiency in the production of meat animals. Sygen applies a combination of quantitative genetics and biotechnology to animal breeding, which is applicable across several livestock species, and is currently applied with respect to pigs and shrimps.  For the year ended 30 June 2005, Sygen reported revenues of £134.4 million, earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation and exceptional items of £15.4 million and an operating profit before exceptional items of £8.9 million.

Genus is a world leading bovine genetics company.  At the heart of Genus' business lies a research and development program with an annual cost of
approximately £8 million per year.  Laboratory bio-science is used to target and augment traditional mating and selection programmes, testing 400 new bulls each year.  Genus applies biotechnology to the natural breeding of beef and dairy cattle, creating genetic improvement without the use of genetic modification and distributes frozen beef and dairy semen for both tropical and temperate agricultures from its six studs located across four continents to farmers in approximately 70 countries.  The Genus Group sells through a network of retail staff and exclusive agents and distributors.  Farmers use the improved genetics purchased to breed elite progeny and so add value by increasing the output and robustness of their herds.

Through organic growth and by acquisition, Genus significantly expanded its bovine genetics business.  The acquisition of ABS Global Inc. in 1999 resulted in the Genus Group achieving a step change in the size of its core genetics division.