BASEL, Switzerland -- Syngenta announced today the signing of an agreement to acquire the Maribo Seed sugar beet business from Nordic Sugar, a subsidiary of Nordzucker AG, for a consideration of euro 43 million ($52.8 million) plus euro 5 million ($6.1 million) contingent payments on a cash and debt-free basis.

The transaction includes the seed production and sales activities of Maribo Seed as well as the Maribo brand name. In 2009 sales of the acquired activities were around euro 35 million ($49 million).

"This acquisition consolidates our position in European sugar beet," said Davor Pisk, Chief Operating Officer Syngenta Seeds. "Maribo Seed has incorporated Syngenta genetics in its range since 1992. It is a strong and well-established brand in key markets."

Beet sugar accounts for around 30 percent of the world's sugar production. Globally, sugar beet is grown on around four million hectares, mainly in the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the United States. The global sugar beet seeds market is currently valued at around $750 million.

Maribo Seed was created in 1920 and is headquartered close to Copenhagen in Holeby, Denmark. The company sells its sugar beet seeds in 35 countries and has commercial operations across Europe including Russia, Poland, Denmark and the UK. Maribo Seed has around 170 employees.

The transaction is subject to the approval of regulatory authorities.

SOURCE: Syngenta.