Bayer CropScience to acquire biological pest control firm AgraQuest

Bayer CropScience, a crop science company part of German chemicals and pharmaceuticals group Bayer AG (ETR:BAYN),announced it would acquire US AgraQuest Inc, a supplier of biological pest management solutions based on natural microorganisms, for nearly $500m (€397m).

Under the signed agreement, Bayer CropScience will pay a purchase price of $425m and additional earn-outs for AgraQuest, as it aims to build a top technology platform for green products and to boost its key fruits and vegetables operations. The move would also ensure opportunities in other crops and markets, Bayer CropScience said.

The German company, which generates over 25% of its sales from the fruits and vegetables sector, wants to boost revenues from this market to €3bn by 2020 and the purchase of AgraQuest, which expands its biological pest control portfolio, is part of that growth goal, CEO Sandra Peterson commented.

In turn, AgraQuest expects to be able to develop revolutionary, tailor-made biological solutions with the support of Bayer CropScience, while its products would be sold globally, CEO Marcus Meadows-Smith said.

Davis, California-based AgraQuest has a state-of-the-art biopesticides production facility in Tlaxcala, Mexico and an R&D site in its home town, and employs around 250 full-time staff.

Its products, including brands Serenade, Rhapsody, Sonata and Ballad fungicides and Requiem insecticides, will complement Bayer CropScience’s sector portfolio. The US firm sells its products in more than 30 countries aiming at market segments such as fruits and vegetables, broad-acre crops, post-harvest protection, turf, home and garden and animal

The transaction needs to secure clearance from the relevant authorities before it can wrap up.