Lantmännen, Svalöf Weibull and BASF agree on share exchange news
25 October 2008

Swedish farmer-owned Lantmännen has become the sole owner of plant breeder and seeds firm Svalöf Weibull after acquiring the 40 per cent share in Svalöf Weibull previously held by BASF Plant Science. At the same time, BASF has gained full ownership of BASF Plant Science by acquiring the 15 per cent share in BASF Plant Science previously held by Svalöf Weibull.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The resulting simplification will give the companies greater flexibility in responding to their respective strategic demands.

Lantmännen is one of the largest groups in the food, energy and agriculture industries in the Nordic region. Lantmännen's brands include Axa, Kungsörnen, Start, Bageri Skogaholm, Hattings, Schulstad and Kronfågel. Lantmännen is owned by 42,000 Swedish farmers. It has 13,000 employees, operates in 19 countries and has a turnover of SEK 36 billion. 

"Plant breeding is one of Lantmännen's core operations. We want to focus fully on Svalöf Weibull better known to our customers as SW Seed," said Lantmännen's president and CEO Per Strömberg. "With BASF Plant Science as our partner we have restructured SW Seed's operations in the past years and have made the company even stronger in both the Nordic and the growing Central European markets."

Svalöf Weibull is an international plant breeding and seed company. The core business is development and marketing of new plant varieties and the production of seed. Cereals, oil seeds and forage grasses & legumes are the main crops. Svalöf Weibull, better known as SW Seed in the international market, is located in Svalöv, Sweden and has 220 employees in Sweden, Germany, Holland, Poland and Latvia.

Hans Kast, president and CEO of BASF Plant Science, said "In future, both companies will concentrate on their core competences. For BASF Plant Science this means the development of plant biotech products for the global market."

Kast said, "Full ownership has advantages and can speed up decision making. On the other hand, our extensive experience shows that joint ownership is not a prerequisite for working together successfully."

Svalöf Weibull will continue to provide field trial services for BASF Plant Science in Sweden and will allow BASF to access selected commercial seed varieties for research and commercialisation. 

"Markets and strategic focus have changed since BASF and Svalöf Weibull started their cooperation 10 years ago," explained Monika Lekander, CEO of Svalöf Weibull. "It is therefore logical for the partners to now end their joint ventures. An independent Svalöf Weibull can look for new development opportunities and cooperation partners, whilst we can count on the continuation of our excellent cooperation with BASF Plant Science for certain projects."

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Lantmännen, Svalöf Weibull and BASF agree on share exchange