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Moline-based Deere & Co. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire King Agro, a manufacturer of carbon fiber technology products. Pictured above, the carbon fiber sprayer boom made by King Agro is more than five times lighter than steel, which results in less soil compaction by equipment. The carbon fiber product also is less corrosive, more durable and more flexible.

Contributed photo

Deere & Co. announced Friday it will acquire King Agro, a privately-held manufacturer of carbon fiber technology products.

Headquartered in Valencia, Spain, King Agro has a production facility in Campana, Argentina. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This transaction provides John Deere customers the chance to benefit further from King Agro’s unique knowledge, designs, and expertise in carbon fiber technology," said John May, Deere's president of Agricultural Solutions and chief information officer.

In 2015, Deere and King Agro agreed to develop and distribute carbon fiber booms for John Deere application equipment in agriculture, offering growers the significant advantages of carbon fiber's versatility, strength and durability in self-propelled spraying equipment, company officials said.

According to Deere spokesman Ken Golden, carbon fibers are combined with other materials to form a composite polymer that has a very high strength-to-weight ratio and when compared to steel, carbon fiber is more than five times lighter. "King Agro’s expertise with carbon fiber technology could lead to the material being used in other equipment across the various production steps in agriculture," he added.

King Agro will retain its brand name, trademark and commercial relationships.

King Agro has been a family-owned business with about 180 employees and a 30-year history of developing various carbon fiber products. In agriculture, it has targeted innovative designs that improve productivity and lower costs.

May said the new acquisition will provide benefits in sharing best practices in product development, manufacturing, technology, as well as in scale.

The deal comes two days after Deere CEO Samuel Allen addressed the annual shareholder meeting at Deere's headquarters in Moline, where he said Deere continues to make new investments in new products, businesses, technologies and markets.

The acquisition also comes on the heels of Deere's largest acquisition ever — its $5 billion-plus acquisition of the German company Wirtgen Group, a global construction equipment manufacturer, and of Blue River Technology, a company with a new technology that uses cameras and artificial intelligence to help farmers accurately apply chemicals.