15 May 2000
Monsanto sale moves closer

By FWi staff

MONSANTO, the agricultural division of the Pharmacia drugs group, has formally filed to make an initial public offering of its shares, reports the Financial Times website.

This is the first step in spinning off the business, which includes genetically modified seeds and Roundup pesticide among its products, as a separate quoted entity.

The filing did not reveal the price the shares would be sold at, nor the value which would be put on the business.

It is thought the initial public offering could go ahead by early to mid-summer.

Pharmacia confirmed that it expects to continue to own more than 80% of Monsantos shares.

The sell-off of part of Monsantos agriculture business was agreed in last years US$26.6 billion (16.5bn) merger of Monsanto and pharmaceutical company Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc.

The Monsanto share price fell by 12% in 1999, despite the success of its pharmaceutical unit.

The agriculture unit was blamed for dragging down the share price, with GM technology meeting strong resistance in Europe, Japan, and increasingly in the USA.