BASF to acquire US agrochem firm Becker Underwood for $1.02 bn

BASF SE, the world's largest chemicals maker yesterday said that it would buy US crop protection company Becker Underwood from private equity firm Norwest Equity Partners, for €785 million ($1.02 billion) in order to expand its farming pesticides division.

The deal is the biggest for BASF since it acquired German speciality chemicals maker Cognis in 2010 from private equity firms Goldman Sachs Group and Permira Advisers, for €3.1 billion ($4.16 billion) including debt. (See: BASF to acquire speciality chemicals maker Cognis for €3.1 billion)

But its biggest acquisition was the 2008 purchase of Swiss rival Ciba Holding AG for €3.8 billion.

Becker Underwood is one of the leading global providers of technologies for biological seed treatment, seed treatment colours and polymers, as well as products in the areas of biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, animal nutrition and landscape colorants and coatings.

The Ames, Iowa-based company has 10 production sites worldwide, 479 employees and expects sales of $240 million in 2012.

Becker Underwood was founded in 1982 with a single product, Spray Tracer, a specialty spray marking dye for the agricultural market. Between 1984 and 2000, Becker Underwood rapidly expanded through new product introductions and small acquisitions, predominantly in the turf, horticulture, colorants and spray pattern indicator markets.