In a move that will expand its footprint in Israel, Deere & Co. announced Tuesday that it has made a conditional offer to purchase certain assets and customer relationships of BHC Manufacturing.

The company, which is located near Beit Hashita, Israel, manufactures cotton picker repair parts for all makes of equipment and is a supplier of cotton picker row units for other equipment manufacturers. It is not a current supplier to Deere.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Deere spokesman Ken Golden said the company intends to have the operation continue as it is today, supplying other manufacturers. He added that it is too early to discuss what will happen with employment levels. BHC employs 110 people.

Deere said the action expands its products and services in its already successful cotton picker business.

Mark von Pentz, the president of Deere's agriculture and turf division, said ,"This commitment extends to serving cotton customers around the world. By combining the manufacturing assets of BHC with Deere's existing manufacturing capacity, John Deere will have improved capability, efficiency and geographic reach to satisfy customer needs."

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The Moline-based Deere said its offer is contingent on satisfactory completion of due diligence, which is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2010. The sale also could be finalized in second quarter.

This marks Deere's second acquisition of an Israel company in the past 18 months. In June 2008, Deere announced it was purchasing Plastro Irrigation Systems Ltd., headquartered in Israel. At the time, the move positioned Deere as the world's third-largest agricultural irrigation company.

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