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The Argentine owners of the country’s main soybean seed company bought 60,000 hectares for USD 195 million from an Australian Investor

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The Bartolomé family, owner of Grupo Don Mario (GDM) kept the entire shares of the Australian Farming capital company Liag Argentina.

Gerardo and Ignacio Bartolomé, father and son, owners of Grupo Don Mario (GDM), the largest Argentine seed company and leader in soybeans also in Brazil, bought the entire share package of the agricultural-livestock company LIAG Argentina -with Australian capital. The transaction, for USD 195 million -financed 60% by Rabobank- covers 60,000 hectares throughout the country.

Ignacio and Gerardo Bartolomé. The 65-year-old father delegated this year to his 35-year-old son the management of the Don Mario Group (GDM), but they continue to make investments together.

As El Clarín learned, 85% of the company was bought by Gerardo Bartolomé, who has just retired from the GDM Seeds board. The remaining 15% was acquired by his son Ignacio, who took over the reins of GDM this year.

In the new management of Liag, the management team headed by Santiago Arriague will remain. Both companies have had a commercial relationship for years: GDM supplies the seeds that are sown in the different fields of the acquired company.

As chairman of the board of directors, the same role that Gerardo Bartolomé retains in GDM, will seek to contribute his strategic vision to the company in which he lands, to add value to Argentine agriculture.

Happy about the achievement and the challenge that awaits him, he conveyed that he feels it as “a return to the origins”, about his productive beginnings when he had just graduated as an agricultural engineer.

Liag Argentina is dedicated to agricultural livestock production on 50,000 hectares, most of it in northern Argentina. The operation includes some 10,000 additional hectares to the production lots.

In total, each year, adding the different crop seasons, it produces campaigns for 79,000 hectares -30,000 are under irrigation- on three different farms. One is located in Vedia, Buenos Aires , called “Las Balas” with 13,123 hectares; another, in Talavera, Salta , with “Finca Tolloche” of 41,080 hectares, and a third in Vicuña Mackenna, Córdoba , “El Consuelo”, of 9,346 hectares.

They produce 320,000 tons of grains annually, including soybeans, corn, wheat, sunflowers, sorghum, legumes and cotton.

From the group of friends to the family business

The Bartolomé family owns GDM Seeds, the main soybean nursery in the country, founded by a group of 5 friends 40 years ago in Chacabuco, north of Buenos Aires. They started planting in the field of a relative and renting others. Then they specialized in improving soybean seeds when the oilseed took its first firm steps in our country.

In 1988, they introduced the first soybean variety of what three decades later would become the second largest global supplier of soybean seeds.

Over time, Gerardo Bartolomé, one of the founders, bought the shareholding from his peers and now shares ownership of GDM with his wife and 5 children .

Growth “without ceiling” hand in hand with soybeans

GDM today employs 1,200 people, invoices about USD 500 million annually and reinvests 25% in Research and Development. It has 70% of the Argentine market and 48% of South America, with relevant leadership in Brazil, the world’s leading producer and exporter of the oilseed.

In recent years, the company has expanded to 15 other countries, from 5 continents, with its different commercial brands. Approximately 40% of the 125 million hectares that are planted with soybeans in the world have GDM genetics.

In 2019, GDM landed in China, the historical cradle and major destination of soybeans. It also gained market shares in the competitive North American market, where Ignacio forged his leadership as number one in the company between 2016 and 2021.

It also markets corn in three countries: Argentina, the United States and Brazil- and wheat in two countries: Argentina and the United States. Now the bet is also to produce sunflowers in Europe.

Source: El Clarin

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