Mar. 5, 2019
In 2018, VextaChem S.R.L was granted Annex III registrations in several EU countries for metamitron 700 SC formulation. In addition, the company is participating in an ongoing EU AIR renewal process for metamitron active substance, alongside ADAMA and UPL. Metamitron renewal process is scheduled for completion in 2022; thereafter VextaChem S.R.L expects to establish a long-term position in Europe with its formulations.
VextaChem S.R.L was founded in Italy, with Tide Group being the controlling shareholder in partnership with Jiangsu Lanfeng Biochemicals ltd and AgroVentures srl. In an interview with Bruno Folchi, general manager of VextaChem S.R.L., AGROPAGES learned that the he European market is the highest technical and financing requirements and its complexity discouraged many Chinese companies from entering it. It has been a longtime plan of Tide Group to include the EU in its market scope. In 2013, Tide Group, using its successful marketing experience in the US and Brazil, started business development operations in Europe. VextaChem S.R.L is a platform for products, marketing and distribution development. Tide Group provides financial, technical and supply chain support. This is another successful practice of Tide Group in its exploration and development of international markets.
In 2014, VextaChem S.R.L started the process of registering metamitron. In 2015, the company obtained the Technical Equivalence for metamitron, which became a good foundation for the follow-up registration and promotion proceedings. However, that was only the beginning of a difficult job. Bruno Folchi said that the Annex III (formulation) registration process is far more complicated and expensive than any other markets. Normally, a business model can be developed, with reference to experiences or data from different markets, but the EU pesticide registration process is unique, very expensive and requiring on average 6 or more years to get registrations. This is added to significant risks and multiple EU countries reviews and authorizations. In order to manage this complexity Vexta team has to speak 7 different languages and utilize a large number of consulting companies.
Bruno Folchi noted that the registration of metamitron 700SC in all target EU markets will be finalized in 2019.
Metamitron is a low-toxic, low-residue and highly selective herbicide developed by Bayer in 1975, though its patent has expired. The product is a critical tool for weed control and its importance is increasing with the regulatory phase out of certain other competitor active substances ongoing in 2019 and 2020.
Metamitron is a photosynthetic electron transport-based inhibitor, which is selective and systemic, being absorbed and translocated through the root of weeds, mainly used for prevention and control of grassy and broad-leaf weeds in sugar beet fields. The product is widely used in sugar beet planting regions in Europe.
In recent years, the sales of metamitron has been increasing annually. According to a report by Philips McDougall, global sales of metamitron in 2016 was $115 million. With sugar beet being a strategic crop for the EU market, sugar beet planting areas are expected to remain important, and demand for metamitron is growing. To seize the market opportunities, VextaChem S.R.L is developing additional of sugar beet herbicides, backed up by Tide Group’s technical strength. In the meantime, VextaChem S.R.L will proceed in an orderly manner with its process of registering products for use with other crops and deliver value to European farmers.