Monsanto Company : Monsanto To Buy Planting Technology Company, Unveils New Platform
05/23/2012| 08:24am US/Eastern
Monsanto Co. (MON) is buying a planting technology company, part of a increased effort to expand its focus beyond seed production.
Monsanto announced it will buy Illinois-based Precision Planting Inc. for up to $250 million. Precision Planting makes technologies designed to help farmers improve seed spacing, depth and root systems in their fields.
St. Louis-based Monsanto, whose business revolves around breeding and genetically modifying corn and soybean seeds, has said that improved agronomic practices are a key component of improving yields. The acquisition announced Wednesday will become part of Monsanto's "Integrated Farming Systems" unit, which was unveiled in January.
"This underscores our commitment to maximizing yield for farmers while optimising crop inputs, which is central to our vision of sustainable agriculture," Robb Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer, said in a statement.
Monsanto will pay $210 million for Precision Planting, plus a performance-based payment of up to $40 million. The transaction is expected to close this summer.
The company also announced a new "agricultural biologicals" platform in its research and development pipeline.
Monsanto said agricultural biologicials refer to topical or seed treatment products that are produced from natural materials.
These products complement or replace existing agricultural chemicals, and are a growing market, with sales of roughly $1.7 billion per year, Fraley said.
--By Ian Berry, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-750-4072; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @enberry