The German Bayer became Thursday in the giant world of pesticides, fertilizers and seeds in completing the acquisition of u.s. specialist Monsanto, to provide an agriculture that is ever more driven by biotechnology. Two years after it announced the acquisition of 63 billion dollars (54 billion euros), the most important of a German group abroad, Bayer has purchased the securities for Monsanto to $ 128 per share, and has withdrawn the rating on Wall Street.
If the formal integration will only start in “two months,” Bayer buries now the name of sulphur from its target, synonym for critics of the excesses of agrochemicals, and is associated with a cascade of judicial proceedings. But the disappearance of the label Monsanto is pure form: the marks of the firm of Saint Louis will be sold at the same, Dekalb (corn seed and rapeseed) to De Ruiter (for vegetable seeds) through the famous Round up herbicide glyphosate implicated for its carcinogenic effects.
Because Bayer, who sued Monsanto for his attentions before ripping its agreement in September 2016, the table on the boulevard mall that opens to the future juggernaut before the need to produce more on small areas.
“Feeding a growing world population is a long-term challenge, we want to contribute,” announced Tuesday in the daily Handelsblatt, the boss of Bayer, Werner Baumann. By launching the transaction, Bayer had detailed his vision of the planet in 2050, ten billion mouths to feed, on of the arable land, limited and disrupted by the warming climate. With is 115 000 employees, 45 billion euros in combined revenues annual 19.7 billion for the sole activity of agrochemical, the future takes the head of a sector in full concentration.
Last year already, the u.s. Dow Chemical had married his compatriot DuPont and the chinese ChemChina had bought the swiss Syngenta to $ 43 billion, the two mega-mergers that had alarmed the defenders of the environment. In turn, these large operations are fattening the american FMC, which retrieves herbicides, and insecticides from DuPont, and particularly the German BASF, which will put the hand on some 7.7 billion euros of activities transferred by Bayer to appease the competition authorities.
Bayer put on the complementarity between plant protection products and the advance of Monsanto in “biotechnology of plants”, according to Werner Baumann, two areas that require such research and development efforts that the acquired positions are crucial. “The three new conglomerates”, DowDupont, ChemChina-Syngenta and Bayer, “should control more than 60% of the market for seeds and agrochemicals”, “provide virtually all of the GMO” and “hold the majority of patents on plants”, pointed out last year, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, close to the German Greens.
As the number of ecological associations, this structure is a fear that Bayer and its two competitors do not “dictate products, prices and quality standards”, while weighing in behind the scenes on policy decisions. “The model of development embodied by the future together “is the polar opposite of the transition (…) to a model which is sustainable and respectful of the environment,” says for its part, the socialist mep Eric Andrieu on his Twitter account.
Bayer in response, promising”to listen” and to “work with” his detractors, but drives home the point that agriculture “is a subject too important for ideological differences impede progress”, according to his boss. The fate of the glyphosate, on the hot seat in Europe, genetically modified organisms, the future of the sector largely depends on the future environmental policies and food security.
For the daily Handelsblatt, the disappearance of the scarecrow Monsanto could offer “a new start”, “evidence-based”, “in the discussion” on the role of genetic engineering in agriculture – that reactions are very different according to geographic areas. “The continents in full development are Africa and Latin America, while the United States and Asia “continue to develop their agriculture with environmental concerns”, while Europe is distinguished by its hostility to GMOS, summarized on Monday, the chairman of Bayer France, Franck Garnier, with the AFP.