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DuPont’s (DD - Analyst Report) business unit DuPont Pioneer has closed a transaction to acquire a majority stake in South Africa-based seed company Pannar Seed (Pty) Limited.

DuPont Pioneer and Pannar partnership aims to improve the pace and scope of research and innovation in the African seed industry. Thus, it would augment the choices for farming products across Africa. DuPont Pioneer will grow both the Pioneer and the Pannar brands of seeds and businesses in the future, apart from retaining the strong Pannar brand.

Pursuant to the deal, DuPont Pioneer will utilize Pannar’s expertise and its maize genetics developed across Africa; whereas, Pannar will receive access to the Pioneer genetics library and its maize breeding and biotechnology capabilities. The partnership will provide growth opportunities, access to additional crop areas and higher customer base to both the companies.

Separately, as a part of unified research strategy, DuPont Pioneer will be establishing a technology hub in South Africa by 2017 and will invest ZAR 62 million ($6.2 million). The technology hub will include a network of research facilities and testing locations, combined germplasm -- or plant genetic resource collections -- talent and experience to boost cultivar breeding and development across Africa.

The network will have premier R&D technologies that shorten genetic breeding cycles and improve accuracy. The research efforts will be applicable to all crops including maize, sunflower, grain sorghum, forage sorghum, wheat, dry beans and soybeans.

Banking on the partnership, DuPont Pioneer will support agricultural knowledge-exchange, productivity, rural economics and livelihoods of African farmers through the development of higher-performing products.

DuPont is set to invest $10 billion around the globe in research and development for the food, agriculture and nutrition sectors and for developing 4,000 new products by the end of 2020, supporting training and education opportunities for youth globally, and working with farmers to improve the livelihoods of families in rural communities.

This investment by DuPont is a step forward to provide innovative solutions for some of the world's most important challenges, including the need for increased food production.

 DuPont carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the chemical industry having favorable Zacks Rank are Cytec Industries Inc. (CYT - Snapshot Report), Northern Technologies International Corp. and PPG Industries Inc. (PPG - Analyst Report). All of them carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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