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Monsanto Agrees to Buy De Ruiter Seeds

from Yahoo!

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Monsanto Co. said Monday it has agreed to acquire Netherlands-based De Ruiter Seeds Group BV, which produces seeds for the greenhouse market, for 546 million euros ($862.7 million) including debt. Monsanto did not disclose the amount of the debt included in the purchase price.

De Ruiter Seeds, which had global sales of about 108 million euros ($170.6 million), works with crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peppers and rootstock.

After the acquisition, Monsanto's vegetable seed business will include De Ruiter Seeds, which will serve the protected-culture vegetable seed market; Seminis, which will serve the open-field vegetable seed market; and the International Seed Group, which will serve customers of regional seed businesses.

Monsanto Chief Financial Officer Terry Crews, who serves as CEO of Seminis, said the acquisition is expected to help boost Monsanto's vegetable seed platform into a $1 billion revenue business by 2012.

Monsanto said it plans to finance the acquisition with cash. The deal is expected to add to earnings per share, cash flow and revenue growth by the second full fiscal year following its completion.

Monsanto said it has not determined a timeline for the closing of the transaction because it remains subject to review and approval by several European-based regulatory authorities, among others.

Monsanto shares dropped $4.13, or 3.6 percent, to $110.14 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $53.95 and $129.28 during the past 52 weeks.