Biobest buys Brazil farm solutions provider Biotrop in $570 mln deal

SAO PAULO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Belgian sustainable crop management provider Biobest Group has reached a deal to acquire Brazilian peer Biotrop as it looks to expand its footprint in the South American agricultural powerhouse, the companies announced on Thursday.

The firms said in a joint statement Biobest has signed a binding agreement to buy an 85% stake of Biotrop, which is currently controlled by private equity firm Aqua Capital, at a valuation of 532 million euros ($569.45 million).

The remaining 15% stake will be bought by Biobest after a three-year transition period, the companies said, adding they expect the deal to be completed by the end of this year.

Biotrop, which provides farmers with biological control alternatives and is also backed by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, expects to reach 679 million reais ($136.44 million) in revenue this year, it said.

"This announcement is a milestone for Biobest, based on a successful merger and acquisition strategy and sustainable organic growth," Biobest Chief Executive Jean-Marc Vandoorne said.

"With an annual growth rate of 43% and driven by a regulatory environment that favors the needs for products of this nature, Brazil outperforms the growth of any other major market in the world," he added.

The South American country is a top global provider of products such as sugar, coffee, soybeans, corn and orange juice.

Biobest said it will fund the acquisition through a capital increase to be subscribed by existing shareholders, such as Sofina, and new stockholders including Tikehau Capital, M&G Investments, Unigrains and Sofiproteol.

The Belgian firm was advised by Morgan Stanley, Berenberg, Stocche Forbes/Jones Day, E&Y and McKinsey in the transaction. Investment bank Itau BBA and law firm Demarest, meanwhile, advised Aqua Capital. ($1 = 0.9342 euro) ($1 = 4.9767 reais) (Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)