Sumitomo calls time on painful 12-year investment at Nufarm
Sumitomo, despite dusting hundreds of millions, sat there patiently throughout it all. It had a director on Nufarm’s board (not for much longer, you would have to think) and continued with the strategic agreements, while Nufarm went about reshaping and broadening its chemicals portfolio.
Fast-forward 12 years and Sumitomo cemented the losses, selling in the mid $5 a share range. Citi ran a book on Monday night, taking bids at $5.38 to $5.61 a share, as revealed by Street Talk.
Even if you add dividends (worth 75¢ a share since 2010), Sumitomo only recouped half of its 2010 investment. It’s hard to quantify the value of its strategic agreements with Nufarm, from the outside at least.
Sumitomo had been seen to be a seller for at least the past few years, and particularly so once the Tokyo Stock Exchange released a corporate governance code that discouraged minority cross shareholders, like Sumitomo’s 15.9 per cent stake in Nufarm.
Nufarm knew its white knight could pull the trigger, and so did its big shareholders and sell-side analysts. The question was how and when.
The fact it turned to a block trade, and at a discount, shows it either couldn’t find a strategic buyer or didn’t try.
The sale to institutional investors leaves Nufarm’s share register open for the first time since January 2010. The business has re-found its feet in crop protection products and its proprietary seed technologies business, and reported a 61 per cent spike in six month profit last week.