Bayer CropScience to Buy AgraQuest for $425 Million
Bayer CropScience says it has agreed to acquire biopesticide firm AgraQuest (Davis, CA) for €340 million ($425 million), plus milestone payments. Bayer, which has been incorporating AgraQuest's Serenade fungal and bacterial control technology into its own Natria-brand line of products since 2009, says the deal will enable it to build a "leading technology platform for green products" and strengthen its fruits and vegetables business.
"The growing fruits and vegetables market, which today accounts for more than 25 percent of our sales, is of strategic importance for us," says Sandra Peterson, CEO of Bayer CropScience. "We plan to achieve EUR 3 billion sales in this segment by 2020 and with the acquisition of AgraQuest we are underlining our growth ambitions."
AgraQuest discovers and processes naturally occurring microorganisms that fight plant disease and pests. The company's portfolio includes several fungicides and its Requiem-brand insecticides. Bayer CropScience, which produces a biological nematicide tradenamed Votivo, says AgraQuest's pipeline includes biological acaracides, fungicides, and nematicides that have undergone successful early field evaluations.
Consumer preferences, government support for a reduction in the level of chemicals used in agriculture, and regulatory pressure limiting residue levels are all driving growth for biopesticides, company executives say.
Bayer CropScience will integrate AgraQuest’s biopesticides production facility in Tlaxcala, Mexico, as well as the company’s R&D site in Davis. AgraQuest employs a total staff of approximately 250 full-time employees. The company does not report revenue, but told CW in 2011 it was on track to exceed $40 million in sales.
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.
By Rebecca Coons
Source: Chemical Week