After years of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, six pesticide manufacturers represented over 76% of global sales as of 2011. With additional mergers in process as of July 2016, five top pesticide companies dominate global pesticide sales.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Syngenta AG (NYSE: SYT), with a market capitalization of $40.9 billion as of May 2017, was formed through the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals in 2000. The company develops commercial herbicides, fungicides and insecticides for a variety of crops, including corn, cereals, fruits and vegetables, as well as home and garden pesticides for consumers. In addition to being the largest producer of pesticides in the world, with 2017 sales of $12.65 billion. In August 2015, Syngenta rejected an acquisition offer from Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) valued at $47 billion, saying that the offer was too low; internal estimates of the company's value were closer to $62 billion. However, in February 2016, Syngenta agreed to be purchased in cash for $43 billion by ChemChina.
Based in Leverkusen, Germany, Bayer AG (OTC: BAYRY) develops and sells healthcare and agricultural products to markets around the world. The company's market cap as of October 26, 2018, was $70.34 billion. Its CropScience division produces genetically modified seeds and pesticides for commercial and consumer uses, with pesticide sales of €9.57 billion in 2017. On May 19, 2016, Bayer made a $62 billion buyout offer to Monsanto based on its interest in Monsanto's seed business. Monsanto rejected the offer less than one week later, saying that the terms were incomplete and financially inadequate. In June 2018, Bayer finally absorbed Monsanto and retired the name.
Dow and DuPont
The Dow Chemical Company and DuPont (DWDP), based in Midland, Michigan, and E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company based in Wilmington, Delaware, agreed to a merger in December 2015. Valued at approximately $120 billion, shareholders approved the merger in July 2016. The cumulative pesticide revenue of DowDupont, in 2017, exceeded $14.34 billion. After the completion of the merger, the renamed DowDupont plans to split into three separate companies: an agricultural group, a special sciences concern and a material sciences company. Dow, DuPont, and Corteva Agriscience will be the names of the three resulting companies. With thousands of products in testing, the group shows no signs of taking it easy after their highly publicized merger.
Headquartered in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany, BASF SE (BASFY), with a market cap of $60.98 billion, offers pesticides through its Agricultural Solutions division, one of five separate chemical segments in the company. The company's pesticide products are primarily aimed at commercial users, with 2017 sales of €16.33 billion. BASF is unique in the group of the top pesticide companies, being the only firm as of July 2016 not actively involved in M&A activities, either as an acquirer or a target. This turned around significantly when in April 2018, BASF purchased from Bayer a major part of its seed business – Monsanto, essentially – for an astounding €7.6 billion. of October 2018, they are the largest chemical producer in the world.