, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
A sunflower in full bloom looks like a smiling face. The Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta has more to smile about these days thanks to a recent expansion. The company has agreed to purchase Monsanto's global hybrid sunflower assets for $160 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, Syngenta will buy assets and assume liabilities of Monsanto global sunflower business, which had sales of $75 million in fiscal 2008. The purchase includes germplasm, development and breeding businesses. Monsanto new reports indicate that company intends to remain fully focused on its seeds and traits platform in core crops like corn and soybeans. Monsanto also recently reentered the wheat business.
Syngenta already has a large presence in this market with sunflower seed sales realizing more than $200 million in sales in 2008. "This acquisition is an excellent addition to our global sunflower business. These activities will further strengthen our position in Europe and Latin America, key regions for growing sunflowers, and expand the range of our offer to growers,” says Davor Pisk, Chief Operating Officer Syngenta Seeds.
Details of how Syngenta might integrate the Monsanto line up into their NK hybrid portfolio or how they might be marketed in the U.S. is still pending. The transaction is subject to the approval of regulatory authorities.
Sunflower oil is a high value vegetable oil which is low in saturated fats and mostly used in food applications. Globally, sunflowers are grown on around 24 million hectares. Major sunflower producing countries are Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, France and Central Europe. The sunflower seeds market is currently valued at around $700 million with more than 75% of the value coming from developing markets. The Dakotas rank as the leading growing areas in the U.S.
For more information on sunflower production in the U.S. contact the National Sunflower Association at www.sunflowerna.com
. Find more information on Syngenta at www.syngenta.com