* The 2017 annual reports of prime industry players were the main source of data for the figures in this analysis. The monetary values were converted to dollars at the exchange rate listed on the last day of the fiscal year. Data from Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences, RAGT Semences, Euralis Semences and InVivo provided the seed sales value of the year; data from Limagrain: without IFRS11 impact, excluding Garden products; and data from all other companies were used to indicate sales value per company within the fiscal year. (Source of exchange rate from PoundSterling Live).
1 According to the financial report of DowDuPont, seed sales accounted for 56.78 percent of its agricultural sales; the agricultural sales of DowDuPont of 2017 was $14,342 million.
2 Consolidated sales of Dupont Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences of 2016
3 No annual sales of Enza Zaden, Bejo Zaden, Florimond Desprez and Euralis Semences of 2017 are available; ranking is referenced to sales of 2016.
4 Source of data: Access to Seed Index
Note: The above ranking is for reference only
In our past seed business publications, we released the Top 10 Global Seed Companies, which was warmly welcomed by readers. In today’s publication, the ranking has been extended to top 20 to include more extensive information on the global seed industry.
Since the merger of Dow Agro Sciences and DuPont Pioneer in 2015, the restructuring activities in the global seed industry have developed more depth. Merger and divestment have become a mainstream of the seed business. With the closing of the DowDuPont merger, the finalization of ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta in 2017. Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto on 7 June this year and BASF’s acquisition of Bayer’s seed business in August, the consolidation of the global seed market has come to an end. However, foreseeable subsequent consolidation will still go on for some time. In 2018, we will watch what are the new acquisition targets for Syngenta? What changes will the newcomer BASF and the rising Long Ping High-Tech bring to the set-up of the world seed industry? Visit our website www.agropages.com and subscribe to the AgroPages Seed E-Weekly newsletter.
By sorting out the annual report of multinationals for 2016 and 2017, AgroPages made a list of the top 20 global seed companies. They are: Two US companies – Monsanto and Corteva Agriscience (DowDuPont); 12 European companies, including two German companies – Bayer and KWS; five French Companies — Limagrain，Florimond Desprez, RAGT Semences, Euralis Semences and InVivo; one Danish company — DLF; four Dutch companies — Rijk Zwaan, Barenbrug, Enza Zaden and Bejo Zaden); three Chinese companies — Syngenta (ChemChina), Long Ping High-Tech and Beidahuang Kenfeng Seed; two Japanese companies — Sakata Seed and Takii Seed; and one Indian company — Advanta Seeds (UPL).
It is seen that no companies were able to shake the dominant position of Monsanto in the seed industry. In 2017, backed by its GMO advantages, Monsanto’s field crop sales reached $10.098 billion, 9.9% up year on year. In the meantime, its leading status in vegetable seed was maintained with the achievement of sales of up to $815 million, 2% up year on year. After Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto, Bayer divested itself of almost all its seed business to BASF, including most of its field crop seed business all vegetable seed business (Nunhems). Bayer's acquisition of Monsanto will not add a significant volume of business, as the seed business will be basically the previous seed business of Monsanto. However, it is believed that Bayer’s research capacity and market presence in Europe will further enhance its leading position in the market. Besides, with the seed business acquired from Bayer, BASF is officially entering the global seed market, and will replace the rank position of Bayer, become the Top 10 seed company.
After the DowDuPont merger, its new agricultural brand shows up in the name of Corteva Agriscience. Although part of the assets of AgroSciences were sold to Long Ping High-Tech, in 2017, DowDuPont, after the merger, owing to its good performance, could achieve a seed sale amount close to the total seed sales of DuPont and AgroSciences of 2016. In 2018, Corteva announced its new, focused multi-channel, multi-brand seed strategy for the U.S. It is foreseeable that the two companies, after completion of the consolidation of brand and distribution channel, will further narrow their gap between Monsanto, as being benefited by the synergistic effect.
As regards to Syngenta, the seed business still remains the same, before the acquisition by ChemChina, because ChemChina does not have a seed business. Moreover, Syngenta could divest itself of no small amount of seed business assets owing to the impact of business restructuring and the acquisition. The company says that its future focus will be on the acquisition of high-quality seed assets. Currently, the company has acquired Nidera Seed from COFCO to enhance its market influence in Latin America. The company has also acquired the American vegetable company Abbott & Cobb to enhance its sweet corn (vegetable corn) seed business strength, which is the core business of the company. It is worth paying attention to Syngenta’s act in the years ahead, as to how it will utilize the seed market advantage of China. The writer of this article believes that Syngenta’s use of China’s seed market potential will play a key role in narrowing the gap between Syngenta and the top two.
In 2017, Long Ping High-Tech and CITIC Agriculture Fund acquired the Brazilian corn seed business of AgroSciences at a cost of $1.1 billion. With the strong capital back-up of CITIC, the company has speeded up its globalization process. Meanwhile, the company has become the largest seed company in China via the consolidation of businesses in China. The company ranks ninth among the world’s seed industry in terms of business turnover, which is the first time that a Chinese seed company is being listed in the Global Top 10. Recently, Long Ping High-Tech said it would start building new seed plants in Brazil next year to increase the production capacity beyond its current four installations. The plan is to boost its share in a market worth 15 billion real ($4.02 billion) from the current 15% to 30% in five years.
A large number of European companies show up in the newly listed top 11 to 20, which included three Dutch and four French companies. This is a reflection of the historic strength of the European seed industry, as typically being represented by the Netherlands and France. The Netherlands' leading position in vegetable seeds is well-known in the world, with three of the four companies listed in the top 20 being vegetable companies. The other one, Barenbrug, is the world’s largest turf grass seed breeding and sales company, which is beyond the field crop seed industry. The seed industry of the Netherlands sets a good example for many countries, being a good reference for other countries in the development of the seed industry.
The steady development of the French seed industry is attributed to its good climate and rich crop varieties, enabling France to take up a dominant position in the EU and even in the world. According to statistics, the French seed sales for the 2014–2015 financial year reached 3.254 billion euros, ranking first among the seed production countries in the EU. After the war, the French seed industry experienced a change from a government-guided business pattern to a commercialized business pattern, thus further being carried over to the global seed business pattern, run by multinationals since the end of the 20th century. The commercialized pattern of seed breeding has greatly enhanced the competitiveness of the French seed industry. The stress laid on science and technology, efforts made for research and development, as well as the sound legislation and the intellectual property system, respectively, provide the commercialized seed breeding industry of France technical and institutional support.
AgroPages is preparing to invite experts from the Netherlands and France to share with us their commercial success in the seed industry, as well as their experience with the change in the development pattern. Stay tuned.
Please download AgroPages' latest magazine - 2018 Seed Special to see more.