BASF is raising the long-term sales target for its crop protection division and now expects it to achieve sales of more than $8.11 billion by 2015 and $10.18 billion by 2020 (previously $8 billion in 2020).
More investment in BASF production and formulation capacities will result in a stronger pipeline for crop protection products that are already in high demand, particularly with weed resistance issues in the U.S. and now globally. BASF plans to double annual investments in production plants for its Crop Protection division through 2017, and expand its portfolio of solutions for farmers around the world, notes Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Crop Protection division.
"We have made great progress over the past years. We have demonstrated sustainable growth in our sales and earnings and are confident we will continue with this development," Heldt said today during the BASF Global Press Conference, where journalists from more than 20 countries descended on Ludwigshafen, Germany to learn more about BASF business strategy and products.
Crop Protection will remain the backbone strategy for BASF, notes Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Crop Protection division.
"The main factors to increase from our current business level is additional capacity, new products from 2010-2020, and the increase of our footprint in emerging markets, such as in India, China, Africa and Latin America. It’s not one single factor – it is a series of activities that lead to global growth," Heldt said.
Total sales potential for BASF’s crop protection pipeline is now estimated at $2.3 billion, or about $676 million more compared to the previous year. BASF plans to invest around 9% of crop protection division sales into R&D.
Future Focus on Biological
A newly established global business unit for BASF called Functional Crop Care will greatly expand the company’s portfolio of solutions for growers, adds Jurgen Huff, Senior Vice President Functional Crop Care. The business unit was developed on the heels of BASF’s purchase of U.S.-based Becker Underwood Inc. for $1.02 billion, which created a major move for the chemical company into biological seed treatments.
Becker’s offerings include microscopic worms that feed on soil-dwelling fungus gnats and are safe to humans and the environment. Traditional chemicals face increased opposition in Europe and the U.S. on environmental concerns as well as consumer interest in reducing exposure to farm sprays. Becker Underwood has a strong position in North America, where BASF is turning much of its global focus.
Functional Crop Care is uniquely set up to harness the progress achieved through both chemistry and biology research, Huff says. In addition to seed enhancement products, Functional Crop Care will also deliver technologies to help plants better manage stress factors such as heat, cold, nutrient deficiency and help to strengthen crop health.
"We can do more for farmers and farmers are asking for more tools for cold stress, heat stress and nutrient deficiency," Huff says. "You take biologicals and apply conventional crop protection technologies, and we get to a doubling of yields in that role. These technologies belong together. It’s not about replacing one for the other. It’s about holistically understanding what our customers need."
With sales of around $6.4 billion in 2012, BASF’s Crop Protection division provides innovative solutions in crop protection, turf and ornamental plants, pest control and public health. Its portfolio now includes technologies for seed treatment and biological controls. Total BASF company sales were $97.4 billion in 2012, making BASF the world’s largest chemical company.