16 July 1998
Monsanto snaps up PBIC for £320m

MONSANTO has bought Plant Breeding International Cambridge (PBIC) from Unilever for £320m.

PBIC, a Cambridge-based crop breeding business, is a leader in breeding new improved varieties of wheat. Monsantos expertise is mostly in corn, soya and cotton.

Monsanto aims to use PBIC to sell hybrid wheats produced by Hybri-Tech, its French subsidiary, to UK farmers by autumn.

Hugh Grant, president of Monsanto, said these conventionally bred hybrids would offer better results in wet and cool conditions. And he said that hybrid wheats could “change the whole way we farm wheat”.

He said PBIC would help Monsanto develop and market genetically modified (GM) cereal crops in Europe after 2003.

Environmental groups accused Monsanto of “gobbling up the whole food industry” with a series of acquisitions to reinforce its leading position in the development of GM crops.

Monsanto rejected the charge, saying it was one of 30 companies that controlled 50% of the global commercial market and it had less than 10% of the global seed market.

  • Financial Times 16/07/98 page 33
  • The Times 16/07/98 page 27
  • The Guardian 16/07/98 page 23
  • The Independent 16/07/98 page 19
  • The Daily Telegraph 16/07/98 page 37

  • Monsanto to buy PBI Cambridge FWi, 15 July