Syngenta expands in wheat with acquisition

by Josh Sosland
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BASEL, SWITZERLAND — Syngenta on April 7 said it has acquired Societa Produttori Sementi, a seed company specializing in durum wheat breeding and production. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Established in 1911 in the province of Bologna in north central Italy, P.S.B. is responsible for durum wheat varieties grown on more than 330,000 hectares (815,000 acres). According to P.S.B, the company has partnered with Barilla S.p.A. for “the development and widespread use of many varieties characterized by their higher quality and productivity compared to traditional durum wheat varieties.”

The company has, in addition to its headquarters and a 430-hectare (1,062 acre) farm, breeding programs in other crops such as non-durum wheat classes and alfalfa.

“Syngenta will preserve the century-old P.S.B brand and know-how, which will continue to be synonymous with top-quality Italian durum wheat production,” Syngenta said. “This will enable growers in Italy and in other countries to meet increasing demand for pasta — a global market valued at $16 billion.”

John Atkin, chief operating officer of Syngenta, said, “P.S.B. combines the quality, tradition and innovation that are the hallmarks of the ‘Made in Italy’ brand. Its unrivalled durum wheat breeding expertise and its links to the food industry will be complemented by Syngenta’s leading-edge cereals R.&D. and global presence. Together we will accelerate innovation in high-quality durum wheat production, helping more growers prosper in the competitive Italian market as well as supporting international expansion.”

Syngenta, a leader in agricultural biotechnology, made no mention of whether bioengineering would figure into the future of P.S.B.
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