Denmark's Novozymes to acquire EMD/Merck Crop BioScience for $275 million

Biotech company Novozymes, the world's largest producer of industrial enzymes, is buying US-based EMD/Merck Crop BioScience from Merck KGaA for $275 million in cash, to boost its presence in sustainable solutions for the agricultural biologicals industry.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Merck Crop BioScience is a leading developer of natural inoculants used by farmers to improve plant health and crop yields. Its products, which are mainly sold in the US, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil, are applied to crops, including soybean, pulse crops, forage crops, peanuts, corn, and wheat.
The company has operations in the US and Argentina and employs around 165 people.

EMD/Merck Crop BioScience, which has increased revenues at an average annualised rate of roughly 15 per cent during the past 7 years, generated sales of $46 million last year and expects to generate sales of roughly $60 million in 2010.

The transaction comprises acquisition of EMD/Merck Crop BioScience operations in the US, Canada and Argentina, and includes the transfer of related tangible and intangible assets, liabilities, and employees.

Outlining the benefits of the acquisition, Novozymes said EMD/Merck Crop BioScience's biofertility products and technologies are well defined and established, with documented and proven efficacy gains on numerous soils and crops.

The biofertility solutions business, which is estimated to be worth around $250 million, is growing fast and forms part of the agricultural biologicals industry, which is worth more than $1 billion.