Big deal for daisies

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - NICK CLARK

Ja­panese buyer snaps up grower

JA­PANESE com­pany Su­mit­omo Chem­i­cal has paid $133 mil­lion for the Tas­ma­nian in­sec­ti­cide pro­ducer Botan­i­cal Re­sources Aus­tralia.

The Ulver­stone-based com­pany was founded in 1996 when busi­ness­man Ian Folder led a man­age­ment buy­out of CIG’s pyrethrum as­sets.

Su­mit­omo Chem­i­cal will own all the shares in BRA after the trans­fer of about 80 per cent of the com­pany’s shares.

BRA makes pyrethrins, a nat­u­ral in­sec­ti­cide ex­tract found in the flow­er­heads of pyrethrum daisies.

Pyrethrins act on the ner­vous sys­tems of pests such as mos­qui­toes and ticks.

De­spite killing in­sects, pyr- ethrins are not toxic to peo­ple or an­i­mals and the in­sec­ti­cide breaks down in sun­light.

As well as pro­cess­ing the crop, BRA also owns farms that grow pyrethrums in Tas­ma­nia.

The Ja­panese com­pany has been re­ported as ex­pand­ing into en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly agro­chem­i­cals.

Su­mit­omo prod­ucts are in use in 80 coun­tries for pro­tect­ing peo­ple from malaria-car­ry­ing mos­qui­toes.

Ja­panese re­ports sug­gest that the buy­out will give Su­mit­omo Chem­i­cal full con­trol of a pro­duc­tion chain stretch­ing from the pyrethrins to fin­ished prod­ucts.

It is un­der­stood the fu­ture Ja­panese par­ent will seek to im­prove on pyrethrum cul­ti­va­tion tech­niques and ex­plore broader uses for pyrethrins.

Tas­ma­nia is the world’s largest pro­ducer of pyrethhrins, sup­ply­ing 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the global mar­ket. Last har­vest sea­son there were more than 100 grow­ers across 1500ha in the state.

In Jan­uary BRA re­ceived $25,000 to­wards a $500,000 cap­i­tal up­grade from the State Gov­ern­ment’s Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Tran­si­tion fund.

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