Leading commercial law firm Thrings has advised grain trader and farmer-owned business Wessex Grain Ltd on its acquisition by Cefetra Limited, a major international supplier of raw materials to the feed, food, and fuel industries.
Led by Bristol-based corporate partner Mike Tomlin, and John Richardson and Jonathan Morris, corporate partners in the firm’s London offices, Thrings advised long-standing client Wessex Grain on all legal matters.
The completion of the deal follows the unanimous approval of Cefetra Limited’s recommended takeover offer by Wessex Grain’s board of directors and near-unanimous support of its 268 farmer shareholders.
Based in Templecombe, Somerset, Wessex Grain was established in 1980 as a small farmer co-operative. Since its inception it has grown to become one of the top 10 grain traders in the UK and is now the major grain trading business based in south and south west England.
Becoming part of a global agri-trading business will enable Wessex Grain to remain as a leading merchant and a major force in its key regions, offering competitive prices, professional support and personal service tailored to farmers’ requirements.
Under the terms of the transaction, Wessex Grain will establish a new independent co-operative storage business – Wessex Grain Store Cooperative Ltd – which will lease storage facilities and enter into a marketing agreement with Cefetra.
Cefetra, which was founded as an agricultural cooperative in 1899, is part of German agriculture, building materials and energy organisation, BayWa. BayWa supplies approximately 30 million tonnes of agricultural commodities to organisations in the animal feed, foodstuffs, drinks, crush and starch industries via its eight offices in Europe and Canada every year.
Simon Wilcox, managing director of Wessex Grain, said: "Wessex Grain currently has a distribution and marketing agreement in place with Cefetra and this offer is based on the already positive and collaborative relationship that both companies enjoy.
“Having worked with Thrings over a number of years, Mike and the team fully appreciated our commercial objectives and responded accordingly to complete what was a complex deal, involving a number of strands and a large number of shareholders. We are extremely pleased with Thrings’ work.”
Mike Tomlin added: “This transaction marks an exciting development in both the history and the future of Wessex Grain. The decision to forge a relationship with a larger global player with a wider ability to trade and distribute the company’s grain will enable Wessex Grain to continue expanding its product and service offering as a result of Cefretra’s access to key customers and markets within the UK and across Europe.
“Thrings and Wessex Grain began working together in 2006, and since then we have provided advice on a number of employment, agricultural, environmental, planning, property, commercial and corporate matters. This particular transaction called for a seamless working relationship between our corporate teams in Bristol and London, and as a firm we are delighted to have played a part in assisting Wessex Grain at such a significant stage.”