Nurfarm’s CEO Dough Rathbone announced the sale of 4.5 million shares to Sumitomo last week, which increased Sumitomo’s shareholding by 1.3 percent to 21.7 percent. The sale occurred in an on-market transfer executed before the opening trading on the Australian Stock Exchange.

"The opportunity to sell this parcel of shares to Sumitomo avoids any market disruption that might result from the on-market sale of Nufarm shares owned by me," said Rathbone. "I am also pleased to see that Sumitomo intends to increase its strategic stake in Nufarm and continue to explore areas where the two companies can co-operate and build value for both businesses."

Rathbone said he will use the proceeds of the sale to meet a personal tax liability that falls due this year. He said he has no current plans to sell down his remaining stake in Nufarm, which stands at 11,669,890 shares following the sale to Sumitomo. The transaction between Rathbone and Sumitomo was concluded at a price of $5.28 per share, which represents the three month volume weighted average price of Nufarm shares to the end of April.

It was reported that Sumitomo said in a statement that it planned to purchase more shares from the market over the next six months. Its ultimate goal is to increase its shareholding to 23 percent.

In the same statement, it was announced that the relationship between the two companies is “progressing smoothly” after Sumitomo Chemical made the investment in Nufarm a year ago.