Bayer CropScience has signed an agreement to purchase AgraQuest, Inc. for a purchase price of $425 million (approximately EUR 340 million) plus milestone payments.
AgraQuest, based in Davis, Calif., is a global supplier of innovative biological pest management solutions based on natural microorganisms. This acquisition will enable Bayer CropScience to build a leading technology platform for green products and to strengthen its strategically important fruits and vegetables business, while also opening new opportunities in other crops and markets. Green products control a broad spectrum of pests and diseases and offer farmers integrated pest management programs to minimize development of resistance and maximize crop yields. The acquisition is subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
"The growing fruits and vegetables market, which today accounts for more than 25 percent of our sales, is of strategic importance for us. 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," said Sandra Peterson, CEO of Bayer CropScience, sending a strong signal to the market. "We are the first in our industry to offer growers a truly comprehensive range of integrated crop solutions based on seeds, traits and combined chemical crop protection and biological control," she added.
The tailor-made portfolio and promising R&D pipeline of AgraQuest will help Bayer CropScience to build a broad-based technology platform to bring a new generation of innovative products to the market. Furthermore, this acquisition will help to optimally use R&D, manufacturing and market synergies creating value for both Bayer CropScience and its customers. "AgraQuest expands our existing biological pest control portfolio centered on our successful Votivo biological nematicide, and it allows us to further leverage the biotechnology platform we have acquired through Athenix Corporation," said Sandra Peterson.
"We are proud to become part of Bayer CropScience," AgraQuest CEO Marcus Meadows-Smith commented. "AgraQuest is ideally positioned as a technology leader in the global biological market and by joining forces with Bayer CropScience we will be able to develop revolutionary, tailor-made biological solutions. Every AgraQuest employee is passionate about developing innovative solutions for better food, and now the products developed through their hard work will be made available to farmers in every corner of the world." AgraQuest has its own sales force in the NAFTA crop protection market, and sells its green products through a network of distributors and partners in other global regions.
The company's current product portfolio includes well-established product brands such as Serenade, Rhapsody, Sonata and Ballad fungicides and Requiem insecticides, which provide effective disease and pest control and will complement Bayer CropScience's product offering. Bayer CropScience will also leverage AgraQuest's technology platform and its promising pipeline of new biological control agents. Several new pipeline products, which include acaracides, fungicides and nematicides, amongst others, are under development, and have undergone successful early field evaluations. Through the acquisition Bayer CropScience will integrate AgraQuest's state-of-the-art 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.