Agribusiness: BASF completes purchase of Becker Underwood

BASF has completed its acquisition of Becker Underwood for $1.02 billion. Company says purchase fits well with its long-term strategy and that it has created a new Functional Crop Care unit to develop and market it and Becker Underwood's products. Company has set up team to develop integration plan.

BASF plans to begin introducing Becker Underwood products into its pipeline relatively soon now that it has completed the $1.02-billion acquisition of the Iowa-based seed-applied biological products company.

Growers could be seeing Vault HP and other Becker Underwood products sold under the auspices of a newly established BASF global business unit called Functional Crop Care that was created as a result of the acquisition, BASF officials said.

The new unit will be headed by Dr. Jurgen Huff, a BASF senior vice president who was one of several BASF officials who spoke during a press briefing announcing the completion of the acquisition as of the end of November. The briefing was held at the American Seed Trade Association annual meeting in Chicago.

“Becker Underwood already has been looking at combining chemicals and biologicals,” said Jurgen. “Now we will be able to combine BASF’s chemical and Becker Underwood biological and seed enhancement products.”

“We believe we are entering the age of biologicals and that biological products could eventually become an $8-billion market,” said Dr. Peter Innes, who was chairman and CEO of Ames, Iowa-based Becker Underwood. Innes will become global senior adviser to the BASF Crop Protection Division.

Jurgen said Becker Underwood will benefit from the acquisition by being able to access BASF’s broad research and development expertise. “It will also be able to take advantage of BASF’s marketing expertise in areas where Becker Underwood has not had a presence before.”

“The acquisition fits very well with our long-term growth strategy. It will provide our customers with an even broader range of innovative solutions for agriculture,” said Andreas Kreimeyer, member of BASF’s board of executive directors responsible for the Agricultural Solutions Segment and research executive director.

In the coming months, a team of BASF and Becker Underwood employees will develop a detailed integration plan. Most businesses of the latter will join the new Functional Crop Care unit. Within the new unit, BASF will merge its existing research, development and marketing activities in the areas of seed treatment, biological crop protection, plant health, and water and resource management with Becker Underwood.

“Now we are focused on an integration which is as seamless as possible for our customers and our employees,” said Markus Heidt, president of BASF’s Crop Protection Division. “Becker Underwood will be cornerstone of our Functional Crop Care unit, and we are looking forward to further developing our business together with our new colleagues.”


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