Seed World

Limagrain to Analyze Syngenta Vegetable Opportunity

On Sept. 3, Syngenta announced it would divest its global vegetable seed business, estimated to be worth $2 billion to $3 billion, in an effort to accelerate shareholder value. There’s much speculation within the industry about what the future may hold.
One company that’s keeping an open mind about the opportunity is the France-based Limagrain, which has a vegetable seeds business unit that includes brands such as CLAUSE, Harris Moran, Vilmorin, Hazera and Mikado Kyowa Seed.
Daniel Chéron, Limagrain chief executive officer, shares that Limagrain is No. 2 globally in the vegetable seeds market and Syngenta ranks No. 3.
“It would be a good consolidation between us, but I cannot say today what will happen,” Chéron says. “Limagrain will analyze the possibility of integrating the Syngenta business in our activities.”
However, Chéron recognizes that there would likely be some antitrust issues if Limagrain were to acquire Syngenta’s vegetable seeds business.
Matthew Johnston, chief executive officer of HM.CLAUSE, a business unit of Limagrain, notes that Syngenta has been a good steward of its germplasm.
“I hope that the next owner of those assets is as good as stewards with them as Syngenta has been,” Johnston says, noting that diversity is not just important when it comes to germplasm but also in industry structure. “This world needs a healthy seed industry — not one or two companies.
“In the long run, I hope it ends up in the hands of a good steward and we’ll see where it goes.”
But Limagrain is not the only one analyzing the opportunity. There’s speculation of a private equity firm, the possibility of a Chinese company or an existing player in the ag-chemical world looking to expand their footprint.
For more information about Syngenta’s plan to divest its vegetable seeds business, visit Seed World will continue to follow this development as it unfolds.