BASF set to pick up Bayer’s Poncho, ILeVO treatments


Bayer’s seed treatments Poncho and ILeVO could soon have a new owner, as part of another deal with fellow German chemical firm BASF.

BASF, which last October agreed to buy several Bayer CropScience assets including its global glufosinate-ammonium herbicide business and LibertyLink trait, announced another 1.7 billion-euro (C$2.65 billion) deal Thursday for an additional package of Bayer ag chemistries and assets.

The additional assets confirmed Thursday include Bayer’s Nunhems global vegetable seeds business and its Xarvio digital farming platform — both of which had already been announced in recent weeks as being up for sale to BASF.

Also included in Thursday’s package, however, are Bayer seed treatment products sold under the Poncho, ILeVO, VOTiVO and COPeO brands.

The new package also includes Bayer’s research and development platform for hybrid wheat, its canola-quality juncea research, certain non-selective herbicide and nematicide research, its oilseed rape business in Australia and certain “glyphosate-based” herbicides used mainly for industrial applications in Europe.

“With this acquisition, BASF will become an even better partner for farmers by strengthening our crop protection portfolio and entering the seeds business in key agricultural markets,” BASF chairman Kurt Bock said in a release.

This deal — as well as last fall’s deal — remain subject to the closing of Bayer’s takeover bid for U.S. seed and ag chem firm Monsanto. Bayer said Thursday it “continues to work diligently with the relevant authorities” toward closing its deal for Monsanto in the second quarter of 2018.

The takeover, BASF noted, still awaits approval from “relevant merger control authorities,” in countries including the U.S. and Canada. Clearances have already been received from Brazil, the European Commission and Russia.

Bayer chairman Werner Baumann, in a separate release, noted Thursday’s deal will further fulfill “undertakings made to the European Commission and other regulatory authorities to allow the successful closing of the Monsanto transaction.”

Among the chemistries included in Thursday’s deal, Poncho and ILeVO are the brands already known to Canadian field crop growers.

Poncho, a Group 4 clothianidin seed treatment, is registered for use on corn and canola against certain insect pests, and must be applied at commercial seed treatment sites.

ILeVO, a Group 7 fungicide/nematicide, is approved as a soybean seed treatment to prevent certain early-season infections that cause sudden death syndrome. Its label was expanded in March last year to include suppression of soybean cyst nematodes and root lesion nematodes.

Thursday’s deal will also involve the transfer of some 2,500 employees worldwide to BASF, which, according to Bayer, has agreed to maintain all permanent positions for at least three years from the deal’s closing date.

Bayer said Thursday it will “continue to own, operate and maintain these businesses” until their sale to BASF closes, and noted it will “remain active in these same areas” through the programs and products it expects to get from Monsanto.

Bayer said it plans to use the net proceeds from Thursday’s deal to “partially refinance” the proposed Monsanto takeover. –– Network

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