Monsanto looks at Bayer alternatives

The agricultural seeds corporation has posted a decline in profits, but as it looks at consolidation options it says it sees early signs of an upswing in global agricultural markets.

Monsanto has said it is in strategic talks with companies other than Bayer as it continues to champion consolidation.

“While there is no formal update on the Bayer proposal, I have been personally in discussions with Bayer’s management over the last several weeks, along with others regarding alternative strategic options,” said Monsanto chairman and chief executive Hugh Grant in a statement. He said that “combinations” would accelerate innovation and increase choice for farmers.

“…We remain open and will continue to actively engage in constructive dialogue to pursue value enhancing strategic options,” he added.

In May, Agri Investor reported that Monsanto was looking for ways not to accept Bayer’ $62 billion acquisition proposal. A takeover would create the world’s largest agricultural commodities and input business.

The company also revealed yesterday that its net income fell by more than 37 percent in the third quarter, but said that it sensed the beginning of an upturn in the global commodities cycle.

Performance was affected by a licensing agreement it made with distributer Scotts, glyphosate pricing declines, delays in launching Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean seed sales in Europe, and cotton pricing regulations in India, according to its latest quarterly report.

The agriculture inputs industry has been struggling due to commodity prices, but Grant stated that a low point had now been reached in the overall agriculture cycle and Monsanto now anticipates a recovery.

Bayer’s move to acquire Monsanto follows a series of mergers between chemical and seed specialists. Dow Chemicals and DuPont are set to merge after a deal was reached at the end of last year, while Swiss company Syngenta is likely to be bought out by the China National Chemical Corporation.

Last year, Monsanto failed to reach a deal to acquire seed and agri-chemicals company Syngenta.