Monsanto Reiterates It's Looking for Chemical Acquisitions

  • `Bringing chemistry to our portfolio is the right thing to do'
  • Company said last month it's mulling another bid for Syngenta

Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, reiterated that it’s continuing to seek acquisitions or licensing deals for crop chemicals.

“We absolutely believe that bringing chemistry to our portfolio is the right thing to do to create value,” Chief Technology Officer Rob Fraley said Wednesday in a presentation at an investor conference organized by Citigroup Inc.

Most agricultural mergers and acquisitions occur at the bottom of the industry’s cycle, Fraley said in the presentation, which was webcast. Prices for many crops are currently at or near multi-year lows.

Monsanto Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann said last month the company is considering whether to begin another attempt to buy Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta AG. Monsanto abandoned a $46.6 billion all-cash offer in August.

A combination with Syngenta would have generated cost savings, provided an opportunity to sell pesticides to Monsanto’s seed customers and allowed development of new weedkillers in tandem with crops engineered to tolerate the chemicals, Fraley said.

Both DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. have said that they’ve held discussions about deals involving their respective agriculture units.

“I can tell you there are lots of conversations in the industry,” Begemann said in October. “We are discussing every possibility just like every company out there.”

Earlier on Wednesday, ahead of Fraley’s presentation, Monsanto said its fiscal first-quarter loss was close to the lower end of 23 cents to 33 cents a share. The average of 15 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 21 cents.

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