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BASF finalizes acquisition of fipronil

BASF AG has finalized the global acquisition of fipronil from Bayer CropScience AG, paving the way for the insecticide with the trade name Regent to join the BASF corn product portfolio.

Late in 2002, BASF announced its intent to purchase a package of products, including fipronil, from Bayer. The sale totaled 1.330 million euros, — about $1.42 million.

“This purchase further strengthens our insecticide portfolio, and reinforces BASF as a long-term player in agriculture,” Andy Lee, BASF director of U.S. business operations said at a March 26 press conference.

With the sale closed, Regent now will be marketed by BASF in a corn product portfolio that includes Distinct, Guardsman Max, Lightning and Outlook herbicides, Counter systemic insecticide-nematicide, and other crop-protection products.

“The addition of fipronil, and Regent specifically, allows us to offer our customers a liquid corn insecticide option for the first time,” said Lee. “We believe Regent will be a significant complement to our overall corn portfolio.”

Regent is a soil insecticide that offers complete corn protection, controlling pests such as rootworm, wireworm and early-season European corn borer, Lee noted. In addition, Regent controls a number of secondary corn pests, including common stalk borer, seed corn maggot, seed corn beetle, chinch bug grubs and thrips.

“The way we see it, the biggest advantage we can offer with Regent is its wide spectrum of insect control. Many older, competing products only offer corn rootworm control, but Regent, as a liquid, offers a much broader insect control solution,” he says. “Because of this, we continue to see a need for this product even with new transgenic products coming to the market.

“Regent not only represents the newest generation of corn insecticides, but also nicely complements our strong Counter granular business,” Lee said. “With this purchase, we will offer our channel partners and growers an even stronger corn insecticide portfolio.”

The acquisition of the package from Bayer, including fipronil, also will allow BASF in the mid-term to enter the seed treatment business, Lee noted.

“We want to assure corn growers and retailers that supplies of Regent will continue to meet the needs of the market,” he said.

According to Lee, BASF is proceeding with new product registrations associated with the recent acquisition. Specifically, he says, the company is interested in pursuing a seed treatment package with fipronil, and is researching a new wheat fungicide.

Fipronil, the active ingredient in Regent, is a broad-spectrum insecticide from the new chemistry class of phenyl pyrazoles. Fipronil is currently registered and sold in more than 70 countries.

“BASF is a company committed to agriculture for the long term. As such, we are always evaluating any opportunities to grow our agriculture business,” Lee says.

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