Layoff Process Begins at John Deere Water Worldwide

First Israel Mezzanine Investors paid $60 million to take over the irrigation company.

Three weeks after buying control of the U.S.-based irrigation equipment maker John Deere Water, First Israel Mezzanine Investors has begun implementing a plan to lay off 250 people — 23% of the irrigation firm’s workforce around the world.

The downsizing will include the dismissal of 40 employees at the company’s Plastro Irrigation Systems plant at Kibbutz Gvat in the Jezreel Valley — about 14% of the staff there.

The layoffs follow $50 million in losses at John Deere Water last year and continued losses and lagging business this year. FIMI took over the company from U.S.-based agricultural equipment giant John Deere for $60 million.

John Deere Water was formed between 2006 and 2008 after the U.S. company acquired a raft of irrigation-equipment makers, among them Plastro. The aim was to create a $1 billion company, but the plan unraveled after a spate of poor management decisions.