Syngenta Crop Protection is to grow its presence in the expanding biologicals sector through the acquisition of Italian plant nutrition and care specialist Valagro for an undisclosed sum.

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Valagro, established in 2000, generated revenues of $175m in 2019 from its portfolio of biostimulants and speciality nutrient products and has capability across biologicals R&D, production and marketing.

The compay has its headquarters at Atessa in south-east Italy, with 13 subsidiaries and eight production sites around the world. It has a strong presence in Europe and North America, and is growing its trading area in Asia, including the Chinese market, and Latin America. It will continue to operate as an independent brand under its new owner.

Syngenta says the investment will position it as a global leader in the rapidly growing biologicals sector which it expects to nearly double in size over the next five years. It believes Valagro’s well-established portfolio of biostimulants and specialty nutrients will complement Syngenta Crop Protection’s current range of biostimulants and biocontrols, as well as its future biological pest, disease control and crop improvement pipeline.

“This acquisition underlines our growth ambitions in this area and positions us as one of the strongest players in the global biologicals market,” says Syngenta Group chief executive Erik Fyrwald. “The investment also forms part of our $2 billion commitment to help farmers address the effects of climate change and improve agricultural sustainability as part of our Good Growth Plan.

“It is fully in-line with Syngenta Crop Protection’s strategy to provide growers with additional complementary choices of products and technologies in order to effectively and sustainably care for their crops by managing resistance, enhancing soil health, reducing residues in crops and addressing consumer demands.”

Valagro chief executive Giuseppe Natale adds: “This agreement will open up new, previously unimaginable growth prospects for the Valagro group worldwide. Now that we are part of a company with the resources and ambition of Syngenta Crop Protection, we have exciting new opportunities for our innovation to better deliver even more options for farmers and to invest even more effectively in the sustainable future of agriculture.”