Monsanto to acquire De Ruiter Seeds

by Allison Sebolt
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ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Co. has reached an agreement to acquire De Ruiter Seeds Group B.V., a Dutch holding company that owns and operates De Ruiter Seeds, for approximately €546 million ($800 million).

"De Ruiter Seeds is a leading provider of high-quality products to growers within the protected-culture vegetable seed market," said Terry Crews, chief financial officer of Monsanto and c.f.o. of Seminis, a vegetable seeds division of Monsanto. "When combined with the operational improvements we’ve made in our Seminis business and the growth opportunity of our marketer-assisted breeding platform, this acquisition represents an opportunity to not only transform but further grow our vegetable seed business in a high-value, fast-growing segment of the market."

The acquisition will build on Monsanto’s vegetable seed business and enhance the company’s growth in the protected culture segment. Monsanto’s research in marketer-assisted breeding is expected to offer a jump-start for De Ruiter Seeds breeders, and De Ruiter Seeds’ pool of genetics and operating experience in the protected-culture segment is expected to further enhance Monsanto’s service of the vegetable seed market. Mr. Crews said Monsanto expects the acquisition to turn the company’s vegetable seed platform into a $1 billion revenue business by 2012.

"We are pleased to have entered into this agreement with Monsanto, who is a global leader in agriculture technology," said Biense Visser, chief executive officer of De Ruiter Seeds. "De Ruiter’s investment in high-quality seeds, our leadership in the protected-culture market and our dedicated professionals will be a valuable addition to Monsanto’s business and a new platform for its advanced breeding technology and value-added products. We look forward to working with Monsanto to deliver novel value-added vegetable seed products to growers and consumers around the world."

Once the transaction is completed, Monsanto’s vegetable seed business will be able to provide for customers in three platforms — the protected-culture, open field and regional vegetable seed businesses. Specifically, De Ruiter Seeds will focus on the protected-culture vegetable seed market, Seminis will see to the open-field vegetable seed market and the International Seed Group, Inc. will focus on the regional seed businesses.

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