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European Belchim’s acquisition of North American Engage Agro – an ideal matchqrcode

Jan. 23, 2018

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袁娜 - AgroPages Grace Yuan
Grace Yuan

Grace Yuan, editor of AgroPages. Email: grace@agropages.com

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European Belchim’s acquisition of North American Engage Agro – an ideal match

Belgian company Belchim Crop Protection recently announced Engage Agro USA, LLC officially became Belchim Crop Protection USA, LLC. Belchim announced the acquisition of Engage Agro USA in May 2017. The buyout of Engage Agro USA provides a ready-made platform to expand access to USA markets for Belchim’s innovative agrochemical and bio-based product portfolio. Belchim had already acquired a 60 percent stake in Engage Agro in 2016. This has helped the company develop its North American and overseas market. Here is a recap of the history of collaboration between the two companies, and the story behind their alliance.
 
Founded in Belgium in 1987, Belchim is engaged in the development and sales of niche crop protection products. In the European Union, the company owns a series of special crop protection products covering potato, grape, vegetable and corn. As a fast-growing company, Belchim established a good relationship earlier on with the Japanese company, ISK, utilizing the research strength of the company in the development of its own innovative products. Over recent years, Belchim also entered into a strategic alliance with Mitsui Chemicals’ agricultural business unit, which further expanded the innovative product portfolio of the company. At present, 60 percent of Belchim’s products are innovative products, and at same time the company has a rich R&D pipeline, which is the main source of its business growth. Relying on its rich innovative product portfolio and quality technical service, the sales of the company reached EUR500 million in 2017.
 
Over the last 30 years, Belchim has concentrated on the European market. Backed by its knowledge of supervision laws and regulations in the local market, and its market access capability and sales expertise, Belchim successfully acquired the French company, Jade SARL, the Croatian national distributor Orchem, and German Proagro. Belchim also took  over the crop protection product line of Helm Ag in Germany, which further enhanced its market position in the European market.
 
Over the last two years, with international market competition intensifying and more stringent laws and regulations put in place in the EU market, Belchim turned its eye to the markets outside EU, and began to look for new strategic partners for cooperation.
 

Engage Agro USA, LLC was formed in 2011 under the same business model as Engage Agro, one of the largest distributors in Canada. Engage Agro, established in 1995, had earlier chalked out deals with large crop protection vendors, such as Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, and their suppliers like Nisso, ISK, and Mitsui Chemicals. Engage Agro had always focused on business performance, and tried to access niche markets, which others overlooked.  Engage Agro USA, LLC had its own specialty product portfolio with a line of products including Integrate® Soil Surfactant, Parka™, Spin Aid® and Cosavet® DF Edge, and PollenShield™, just to name a few.  Late in 2015, Engage Agro USA combined under the leadership of Engage Agro.

After the alliance with Belchim in 2016, Engage Agro gradually changed its business idea. Apart from the continued performance in niche crop markets, they actively moved toward the cultivated crop market covering corn, soybean, cereal grain and rapeseed, which further enhanced its market position in the North American market.

Jos Testers, the president of Engage Agro, in an interview with AgroPages said, “Engage Agro focuses on the North American market. We needed to cooperate with large international companies. Belchim is a desirable partner for cooperation from a strategic, as well as cultural perspective. Strategically, this Belgium Company has a 30-year history, which is very similar to Engage Agro. Their CEO, Dirk Putteman, is aggressive and ambitious, and they have not only built good supplier relationships, but are spending a large sum of money on the development of novel compounds. Culturally, Dirk prefers efficient and smart talents. This is a good match with our corporate culture.”

In regard to strategic planning, product combination, distribution, and service, the present performance of the cooperation has shown it to be a perfect match between the two companies.  The Engage Agro portfolio(s) as well as the technical experience of the sales team has enabled Belchim Crop Protection to fulfill its desired expansion into North America.

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