Corrected Sept. 18, 2019

A major Dutch farm equipment distributor is buying into the Manitoba equipment business, with a deal for Hepson Equipment and a partnership stake in GenAg.

Royal Reesink announced Friday it has bought a controlling stake in Hepson and has a partnership deal in place with the Kehler family, owners of GenAg. Hepson operates a dealership just north of Brandon; GenAg has two, one at Portage la Prairie and the other between Winkler and Morden.

GenAg specializes in potato equipment and carries brands including Claas, Spudnik, Kubota, Horsch and Valley; Hepson sells Claas’ Jaguar forage harvesters along with Kubota, MacDon, Salford and other brands.

“In Royal Reesink, we have found a business partner who understands the dynamics of agriculture and has a good track record in our sector,” the Kehler family said in a statement in Reesink’s release. The family keeps a “significant ownership share,” Reesink said.

“We’re approaching retirement age and wanted to guarantee the continued existence of the company, but also further develop the company. Royal Reesink can play an important role in this,” Hepson chiefs Sid Patterson and Paul Hepworth said in the same release.

Reesink made its first inroads in ag equipment sales in Canada in October last year when it bought Claas dealer Tingley’s Harvest Centre, which has dealerships at Lloydminster and Vegreville, Alta. and North Battleford, Sask.

Reesink Canada Holdings, the Canadian subsidiary of Royal Reesink, will operate Hepson and hold the GenAg partnership stake. The holding company also operates Tingley’s and Reesink Canada Wholesale, the Canadian distributor of Agrifac sprayers.

“By investing in Canada, we are diversifying our field of activity and making ourselves less vulnerable to geopolitics and weather disruptions,” Royal Reesink CEO Gerrit van der Scheer said in the company’s release.

“Canada is a stable agricultural market, where there is plenty of ongoing investment. Farmers there are very open to progressive European technology. So it’s been a logical next step to further invest in Canada,” Erwin Ros, managing director of Reesink Canada Holdings, said in the same release.

Based at Apeldoorn, about 90 km east of Amsterdam, Royal Reesink’s businesses worldwide have about 2,100 employees in the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the U.K., Kazakhstan, Denmark, South Africa and Turkey.

Overall, Reesink reported pro forma revenue of about 720 million euros (C$1.06 billion) last year and expects revenue to reach 850 million euros (C$1.25 billion) in 2019.

Financial terms of the deals for GenAg and Hepson weren’t disclosed in Friday’s release.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Royal Reesink acquired a controlling stake in GenAg.

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