Syngenta buys Advanta

17 May 2004 00:01  [Source: ICB]

Switzerland’s Syngenta is set to make significant gains in the US corn and soyabean market with an agreement to buy the Advanta seeds business from Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca for €400m.

Syngenta, the world’s largest agrochemicals company, has joined forces with US private equity firm Fox Paine to buy Advanta, which is jointly owned by AstraZeneca and Dutch company Royal Cosun. Advanta, which had sales last year of €395m, is among the world’s five largest seed companies.

Syngenta said it will pay €239m for Advanta’s North American corn and soybean business, which trades under the Garst brand. Last year the business had sales of €135m.

Fox Paine will pay €161m to acquire all Advanta operations outside North America and the non-corn and non-soybean operations within North America. These businesses had sales of €260m in 2003. Fox Paine will also take a 10% stake in the acquired North American corn and soybean business.

The deal, expected to close in the third quarter of this year, will significantly enhance Syngenta’s market share in US corn to 11% and soybean to 10%.

Syngenta also announced it has purchased the glyphosate tolerance technology for corn, called GA21, from Bayer CropScience. This purchase, together with the acquisition of Advanta’s North American corn and soybean business, will enable Syngenta to market a complete range of biotech input traits in both corn and soybean from 2005. For corn, this will include Bt insect resistance, glyphosate tolerance and corn rootworm resistance.

Michael Pragnell, Syngenta chief executive, said: ‘The Garst brand and its leadership are an excellent fit with Syngenta's well-established NK brand.'

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