The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is expected to take a call on the BASF acquisition of Bayer’s vegetable seeds business in India in the coming weeks and till then, Bayer would be forced to keep the business of Monsanto, which it acquired for $62.5 billion last year, in a completely separate account, said Peter R. Mueller, South Asia head for Bayer CropSciences.
“When the CCI would take a decision on the matter completely at its discretion. But we hope that this would happen soon. Only once that happens we can go ahead with total integration with Monsanto India,” Mueller said.
One of the major anti-trust conditions that Bayer has to meet to complete its global takeover of Monsanto was to divest its vegetable seed and selective herbicide businesses globally. Subsequently, early this year, the German drug and agrochemicals major struck a deal with BASF to do so.
While the CCI has cleared Bayer’s merger with Monsanto in India in May this year, the decision on selling a part of the business to BASF is yet to be cleared by the anti-competition regulator.
According to Mueller, the time required for the complete takeover and integration of the two firms will take at least nine months, from the day of receiving the CCI’s nod . “The local integration will have to wait and the businesses of both the firms in the country need to be kept separate till then,” he said.
“Bayer has been forced to keep out of vegetable seeds business globally, including in India. So, we would not be in vegetable seeds business next year. But Monsanto can keep it. So, if we get the CCI approval, we would be able to come back to vegetable seeds business later,” Mueller said.
The Bayer official was hopeful that the integration will be complete in time for kharif 2019.
Protecting intellectual property is the key, if India wants new technologies. Unless it is ready to honour IP, no serious player would be willing to bring in latest advances to the country, the Bayer official said.