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After years of pursuit with three separate failed offers to buy Swiss pesticide-maker Syngenta AG, Monsanto Co. said it no longer sees “large-scale” mergers and acquisitions as a strategy, signaling the end of any lingering ambition to bid for another major crop-chemicals or seeds business.
Speaking [April 6] on the St. Louis-based company’s second-quarter earnings call, Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant said Monsanto will use licensing, partnerships and small acquisitions to reach its vision of a fully-integrated solution for farms, which will encompass seed, crop protection, nutrition and digital, data-driven precision management products.
“There’s an opportunity in bringing chemistry and biology together on that acre, and using data science as the glue that holds that together,” he said. “We are better placed than our competitors to integrate those three pieces together.”
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Grant said creating products that boost yields will determine winners in the sector, rather than deals that find cost synergies, as farmers are seeking the best technologies even in a tough environment of low crop prices and falling incomes. While a Syngenta acquisition would have accelerated the process, the company’s strategy wasn’t dependent on it, and growth will be driven on a product-by-product basis. The company’s ability to develop new products, with its field testing infrastructure and knowledge of plant genomics, combined with its commercial reach, can attract collaborators, he said.
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