Syngenta announced a bid for the Belgian company Devgen, a global provider of hybrid rice and RNAi technology. Completion of the transaction would enable Syngenta to combine its crop protection portfolio with Devgen’s rice hybrids and broad germplasm diversity. Devgen also brings expertise in RNAi-based insect control, for which the two companies signed a global license and research agreement to develop spray applications in May.

The intended takeover bid is for all outstanding shares and warrants issued by Devgen, representing a total consideration of around €403 million. Syngenta has offered €16 for each Devgen share and a price for the warrants set according to market practice. The bid has been recommended by the board of directors of Devgen and is supported by a number of major shareholders holding approximately 48 percent of all shares. Devgen is listed on the NYSE Euronext Brussels exchange; delisting is planned on completion of the transaction.

Davor Pisk, COO, said: “This acquisition will significantly reinforce our leading global position in rice, enabling us further to expand our integrated offers by incorporating the next generation of hybrid rice. Syngenta has already demonstrated its ability to integrate technologies in ways which meet the needs of smallholder farmers in emerging markets. Rice is critical to global food security and we expect to make a key contribution to improving productivity. We look forward to welcoming Devgen employees with their knowledge of rice and other crops to Syngenta.”

Sandro Aruffo, head of R&D, said: “There is immense potential in combining Devgen’s pioneering research in both GM and sprayable RNAi-based crop applications with Syngenta’s broad crop protection portfolio. By building complementary biological insect control solutions into our offer we can increase the options and capabilities we provide to our customers.”

Thierry Bogaert, CEO of Devgen, said: “I am pleased that the achievements and expertise of the Devgen team have been recognized by one of the leading companies in world agriculture. Syngenta’s global scale and reach means that our technology will reach more growers more quickly, enabling vital improvements in crop productivity and protection.”

Full details of the bid will be covered in the offer prospectus submitted by Syngenta and the memorandum of reply prepared by the board of directors of Devgen, following approval thereof by the FSMA, the Belgian financial markets regulator.