21 September 2012 | Patrick Winters
Syngenta to Buy Biotech Seedmaker Devgen for $523 Million
Syngenta AG (SYNN) agreed to buy Devgen (DEVG) for about 403 million euros ($523 million) as the Swiss
maker of agrochemicals extends a move into seed products based on biotechnology.
Investors of the Belgian hybrid-rice seedmaker will get 16 euros a share, Basel-based Syngenta said.
The price is 70 percent higher than Devgen’s closing price yesterday. The asset will have a “very
significant impact” on Syngenta’s $500 million rice business, Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk said in an interview today.
Syngenta, the world’s largest agrochemical maker, is matching BASF SE (BAS) and Bayer AG (BAYN) with the purchase of a biotechnology company. Devgen offers rice traits that have been engineered to resist disease, as well as other formulas for crop protection. For Syngenta Chief Executive Officer Mike Mack, it’s a bet that Devgen’s technology can be rolled out to eclipse research costs that have so far erased profit.
The Swiss manufacturer is paying a “hefty premium” of 14 times estimated 2013 sales, and “the payback will take many years,” Patrick Rafaisz, an analyst at Bank Vontobel AG in Zurich, said in a note.
Syngenta rose as much as 0.9 percent to 347.50 Swiss francs and was trading up 0.4 percent at 3:25
p.m. in Zurich. The stock has gained 26 percent this year, valuing the company at 32.2 billion francs
($34.6 billion). Devgen soared as much as 68 percent to 15.88 euros and was 67 percent higher in