BASF SE agreed to buy Becker Underwood for $1.02 billion as Chief Executive Officer Kurt Bock makes his first sizeable acquisition since taking the helm with a move into biological seed treatments.
BASF will create a business unit called Functional Crop Care to encompass the Ames, Iowa-based business, which is forecast to generate $240 million in sales in the year through September, the German chemical maker said in a statement. The price is equal to 4.25 times sales.
Becker will feed BASF’s plans to grow in biological crop care solutions as well as animal nutrition. The Ludwigshafen- based company is rejigging its portfolio to move away from commoditized products such as basic plastics. By contrast, demand for seed treatment is “rapidly growing” as farmers look to science to improve yields and fight pests, BASF said.
“Becker Underwood has a strong position in North America,’’ Markus Heldt, head of BASF’s crop-protection division said. “We will continue to expand this core business as we expand globally.”
Bock, who took over as CEO on May 6 last year, is handing investors BASF’s first billion-dollar acquisition amid months of speculation surrounding how he will use the company’s cash reserves.
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