The world of agribusiness mergers and acquisitions has been very busy in the last 24 months, especially in the seed and crop protection industry, with three large deals closing in a relatively short time period.
In any deal, there are opportunities for third party companies to acquire assets that must be shed due to competition laws. Sometimes the third parties can be the real winners long term.
We have an example of this in the Dow/Dupont merger. A player in crop protection who you’ve likely heard very little about is taking a much more active role in Canada, with products for all major crops.
In late 2017, FMC Agricultural Solutions acquired select DuPont Crop Protection assets, including broadleaf cereal herbicides formulated with Solumax (soluble granules) technology, insecticides such as Coragen and PrecisionPac application technology. Competition regulators required DuPont divest the assets as part of its merger with Dow.
Producers should see some broad benefits from this, according to Katrina Schmidt, FMC’s Canadian marketing manager, noting DuPont products are “highly complementary” to FMC’s existing and unique pre-emergent product line-up, which includes the brand names Authority, Command and Focus.
FMC has been in Canada for 15 years, mainly as a sales arm of the Philadelphia-based parent company, which dates back to 1883 (FMC was an acronym for Food Machinery Company). Now, with the DuPont acquisition, FMC will have 57 employees in Canada. It will also gain a research arm and manufacturing presence, with facilities in Hanley, SK, and Calgary, AB.
For now, FMC will run its Canadian operations out of office space in Mississauga, ON. A decision on a Canadian future head office location is still pending. The acquisition makes it the world’s fifth largest crop protection company, with 7,000 employees. The fact that many farmers will not be familiar with FMC yet they are now the fifth largest crop protection company is solid evidence of how quickly the company has climbed out of obscurity.
For the 2018 season, products will continue to be sold under the DuPont trade names and packaging until such time the PMRA approves the transfer of registrations to FMC. PMRA’s approval will include new labels bearing the FMC name and contact information, and any required product name changes. This time required to change ownership of the brands on packaging will also be impacting the Bayer/Monsanto deal once it closes in seed and and herbicides.
The company has a lot planned for 2018. For example, in western Canada, FMC launched its first broad, comprehensive grower program across its brands at the Crop Production Show in Saskatoon and in western advertisements starting mid-January. It’s also increasing sales and marketing of its Group 13 soil applied, pre-emergent residual herbicide that provides early control of cleavers.
The company is also adding to its own herbicide portfolio. New to both eastern and western Canada is the launch of Authority Supreme herbicide. It’s a liquid pre-emergent herbicide with two modes of action built in (Groups 14 and 15) for extended control of grass and broadleaf weeds. It’s registered for use in front of soybeans, field peas and chickpeas. As well, Focus herbicide has received registration for use in front of lentils. This is in addition to Focus’ registered use in spring and winter wheat, corn and soybeans. Schmidt says FMC is also pleased by the PMRA’s decision to extend the use of Capture 240EC insecticide until the end of December, 2020, for potatoes.
When a market is disrupted by consolidation efforts, the result can be an opportunity for others to succeed. Now that FMC has acquired these assets from Dupont, the industry has found a new stronger competitor in the marketplace.