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Seminis plans ambitious business expansion in Brazil
January 2, 2006

Source: Valor Economico News via Checkbiotech

Seminis, the world's largest producer of fruit and vegetable seeds, which is owned by the US biotechnology group Monsanto, is planning to expand operations in Brazil and turn the country into a platform for the export of seeds of fruits and vegetables of the cucurbitaceous family, such as watermelon, melon, pumpkin, courgette and cucumber.

The company intends to increase turnover in the country by 60% within the next five years. Seminis recorded a turnover of US$l5mil in Brazil in 2004, or 2.85% of its global turnover.

In order to achieve its target, the company has created the position of managing director, which has been occupied by Mexican business executive Luis Enrique Copeland for the last 10 months; rented 20 hectares of land to double its seed production area in Paulinia, in the state of Sao Paulo; and invested in its local laboratories.

Seminis currently imports 70% of the seeds it markets in Brazil. lt now wants to reduce that percentage and expand exports.

Mr.Copeland has said that 25% of the company's seeds are produced in South America (Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia) and that the biggest potential for growth is in Brazil, due to the country's diversified climate and agriculture frontier.

The company expanded its test area in Paulinia and Carandai (Minas Gerais) from 60 to 80 hectares in 2005. Antonio Carlos Pierro, product research and development manager, has said that research has focused on seeds for export as well as on the genetic improvement of the seeds marketed in the country, such as tomato and pepper seeds.

Mr. Pierro has not ruled out the possibility of investing in transgenic (genetically modified) varieties. Currentiy, transgenic seeds account for 1% of the company's production.

Seminis entered the Brazilian market in 1998 through the acquisition of Horticeres, the former fruit and vegetable division of Agroceres. The company was acquired by Monsanto in January 2005 for US$1.4bil.

Seminis recorded a global turnover of US$525.8mil in its 2004 fiscal year, when the global market was worth US$2.2bil. In Brazil the company owns two research stations in Carandai and Paulinia, two production units in Nova Porteirinha (Minas Gerais) and Campos (Rio Grande do Sul), a treatment unit in Igapare (Minas Gerais) and a distribution centre in Campinas (Sao Paulo), where the company's headquarters are also located.

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Valor Economico News via Checkbiotech

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