Syngenta Acquires Golden Harvest

Largest independently owned seed brand in the U.S. goes to Swiss Syngenta. Compiled by staff

Published on: Jun 25, 2004

Syngenta has announced it will acquire a 90% stake in the Golden Harvest group of companies for $180 million including expected balance sheet adjustments. The companies include JC Robinson Seeds, Inc.; Sommer Bros. Seed Company; Thorp Seed Co.; Golden Seed Company, LLC; Garwood Seed Co. had combined seeds sales of $167 million in 2003 and is valued at $200 million. The current owners will retain a 10% stake.

The acquisition of Golden Harvest, which has a U.S. market share of 4% in corn and 3% in soybean, together with the recently announced acquisition of Advanta's Garst business, will take Syngenta's share of these markets to 15% and 13% respectively. Syngenta now has expanded the platform from which to introduce its range of biotech input traits from 2005.

Michael Pragnell, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta, commented: "This acquisition marks the completion of our strategy to develop critical mass in the U.S. corn and soybean seeds market, complementing our leading position in crop protection." He adds: "We look forward to welcoming the highly successful and respected Golden Harvest organization to Syngenta and are delighted that senior management will remain, ensuring continuity of service to customers."

Jim Sommer, President, Sommer Bros. Seed Co. and Rob Robinson, Executive Vice President, JC Robinson Seeds, Inc. have been appointed joint operating heads of the Golden Harvest business. Robinson says, "Syngenta's growing line-up of traits and breeding and germplasm assets were critical in selecting a partner for Golden Harvest." Golden Harvest will also continue its regional focus; each of the member companies will continue to be responsible for their current marketing geography. 

The five entities that made up Golden Harvest were involved in a lawsuit over ownership of the brand and company. As part of this new arrangement the lawsuit is settled. As Lyn Ramsey, executive director of industry relations for J.C. Robinson Seeds, notes that "what was once five companies has now become one as Golden Harvest." He adds that a team will be assembled to work on how the new Golden Harvest group will work under Syngenta ownership.

Completion of the acquisition is expected before the end of the third quarter 2004.