BASF Takes Wait-and-See Approach to Mergers

September 6, 2016 01:43 PM

BASF, once rumored to be in talks to buy Monsanto, said Tuesday it’s content to watch agriculture’s proposed mega-mergers from the sidelines, waiting to pounce on any acquisitions that become available as anti-trust regulators weigh in.

“We are looking at the portfolios, the antitrust situation, obviously considering (offering) our help if we can resolve some of those antitrust” concerns regulators might raise, BASF Crop Protection President Markus Heldt told journalists gathered at the company’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

But he cautioned against the assumption that bigger is always better, as the agriculture sector watches the fate of three mega mergers now under regulatory review: proposed deals between Dow and DuPont, Syngenta and ChemChina, and Monsanto and Bayer.

“We also believe size on its own, or bundling technologies of seed and chemistry, for example, is not a recipe (for) success,” Heldt told dozens of reporters gathered for the company’s global media event at its headquarters near Frankfurt. “Farmers want freedom to choose, they want choice and alternatives and that’s why we’re firmly convinced farmers around the globe enjoy different suppliers and (do) not (want) to be dependent on just three or four on a global scale.”

Heldt said despite the current “challenging” agriculture economy, the fundamentals for the sector remain strong. BASF will consider it a successful year if the company manages to end it even with 2015 sales, he said.

“We believe that customer focus and agility, not size alone, are key factors for future business growth, as farmers’ demands are rapidly changing,” he said.

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