Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)
Corporate consolidation continues to reduce the number of agrochemical/crop biotechnology companies. In 2000, there were only seven companies with sales of more than US$1 billion dollars. In comparison, 11 companies had sales above the US$1 billion mark in 1995. These included Ciba Geigy, Sandoz, AgrEvo, Rhone-Poulenc and Cyanamid, none of which now exist due to corporate mergers.
Syngenta, formed by a merger of Novartis and Zeneca in November, topped the list with sales approaching US$6 billion. The German multinational corporation BASF saw a 39% increase in sales, the largest increase of the top seven but due almost entirely to the acquisition of Cyanamid. Monsanto and Bayer were the only two other corporations showing increased sales in 2000, at 8% and 13% respectively.
Monsanto's increase was due primarily to sales of Roundup (glyphosate), which accounted for 67% of Monsanto's total sales. Volumes of Roundup sold increased 20% in the U.S. and Argentina, and 16% worldwide -- due to higher sales of Roundup Ready (glyphosate tolerant) crops and glyphosate-based no-till farming practices. According to Monsanto, Roundup Ready soy planted in the U.S. rose by 12%, making up 60% of total U.S. soybean acreage. In Argentina, plantings of Roundup Ready soy increased by 3%, with 90% of the soy in that country now genetically engineered to be glyphosate tolerant. Roundup Ready corn is currently grown on three million acres, but Monsanto sees the potential global market at 200 million acres.
Aventis CropScience had virtually no increase in sales in 2000. While sales for Aventis were up in Brazil and the U.S., these gains were offset by low sales in the Asia/Pacific region and in Europe. Aventis was also forced to pay more than US$90 million to cover some of the costs of the StarLink crop buy back last year. Genetically engineered StarLink corn was approved in the U.S. only for use as animal feed; however, the corn was found in corn supplies and products for human consumption. Company officials have admitted that the final amount could be several times higher than that paid in 2000. In April 2001, Aventis announced that it would sell off its CropScience division rather than seeking a separate stock market listing. The company has sent a sale proposal to Monsanto, DuPont and Dow, and to two German firms -- Bayer and BASF.
2000 Top Seven Agrochemical Companies
Sources: Agrow: World Crop Protection News, January 5, March 2 and April 13, 2001.