German giant eyes up Aventis

By FWi staff

AVENTIS Crop Science is being eyed up by Bayer, in a bid to compete for top spot in the agrochemicals sector with market leader Syngenta.

The German conglomerate is expected to pay about Euro6 billion ($5.04bn) for the crop protection division of the life sciences company, which reportedly turned over Euro4bn ($3.4bn) in 2000.

Although investors claim the deal makes sense for all parties, some analysts are sceptical because of the small growth predictions for the farm chemicals market.

The move would, however, strengthen the companys position in herbicides and plant biotechnology and boost its dominance in the insecticides market.

It is expected that discussions will continue for a further two weeks, but any decision will have to meet with the approval of German pharmaceuticals group Schering, which holds a 24% stake in Aventis Crop Science.