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January 17, 2012


BASF to shut plant biotechnology business in EU


BASF Plant Science, the plant biotechnology unit of German chemicals company BASF SE, said Monday (Jan 16) it would move its headquarters to the US from Europe, where it faces resistance to plant biotechnology from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians.


The company will halt development and commercialisation of all products targeted solely at European markets and cut 140 jobs in the region.


Citing a "lack of acceptance" for genetically modified crops in many parts of Europe, the company said, "It does not make business sense to continue investing in products exclusively for cultivation in this market."


The company will "now concentrate on the attractive markets for plant biotechnology in North and South America and the growth markets in Asia," said Stefan Marcinowski, executive board member responsible for the unit.


BASF Plant Science will move its headquarters to Raleigh, North Carolina, from Limburgerhof, Germany. The number of employees at the Limburgerhof site will fall to 11 from 157. BASF will close sites in Gatersleben, Germany, and Svaloev, Sweden, and cut 63 jobs.


BASF said it plans to transfer 123 jobs from the Germany-based sites affected, mainly to North Carolina, over the next two years.


BASF Plant Science's product pipeline will continue to focus on yield and stress projects, by which crops are developed with higher yields and better resistance to stress conditions like drought. This includes collaboration with Monsanto for corn, soy, cotton, canola and wheat, the company said.

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