InterviewUS AgraQuest aims for over $200m in sales by 2013

27 May 2009 17:43  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--US bio-based pesticide producer AgraQuest expects to sell more than $200m (€142m) worth of bio-pesticides by 2013 by partnering with traditional agrochemical firms for marketing and distribution, the company’s CEO said on Wednesday.

Similar firms have shunned such partnering, AgraQuest CEO Marcus Meadows-Smith said.

“There are many bio-pesticide companies who would not deal with agrochemical companies, but we are comfortable selling our products in spray programmes and tank mixes with synthetic pesticides,” Meadows-Smith said.

Meadows-Smith said that the company is moving its focus away from the niche organic agriculture sector and into the more lucrative $5bn-10bn low-chemical agriculture inputs space. The privately held company currently has annual sales in the tens of millions of dollars, he said.

AgraQuest’s partnership with BASF, announced last month, will be the stepping stone to the company’s sales expansion strategy, Meadows-Smith said.

BASF will license, supply and distribute AgraQuest’s Serenade bio-fungicide product throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

While the positive environmental profile of bio-pesticides is a big benefit to farmers and growers, AgraQuest emphasises its products’ efficacy, consistency and high yields, which are sometimes lacking in other bio-pesticides, he said.

One of the challenges of the bio-pesticide industry, according to Meadows-Smith, is the lack of credibility and growers’ reluctance to accept new products. Players in this field are mostly small- to medium-sized businesses.

“This is why dealing with major agrochemical players such as BASF is exciting for us in commercial terms,” Meadows-Smith said.

“BASF’s reputation and extensive global sales network will dramatically expand the awareness and use of our bio-fungicide Serenade,” he added.

AgraQuest hopes to announce a new distribution deal for its bio-fungicide Sonata later this year. The company will also seek a distribution deal for its bio-insecticide Requiem, which was launched in the US early this year.

AgraQuest currently has 13 products in various stages of development in its pipeline.

($1 = €0.71)

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