A big corporate restructure will bring Chinese-owned multinational farm chemical and technology giants Syngenta in Switzerland, Adama in Israel and Sinochem in China under one business business banner - the new Syngenta Group.
The group will be headquartered in Syngenta's existing base in Basel, Switzerland.
The giant is effectively the world's biggest crop protection company; the third biggest global seeds business behind Bayer and Corteva Agriscience; fertiliser market leader in China, and China's leading agricultural services provider.
The new corporate formation follows a merger announced in January between China's state-owned Sinochem farm chemical and fertiliser businesses and ChemChina's agricultural chemical operations.
ChemChina, also majority state-owned, bought Syngenta in 2017 for $US43 billion.
The year before it had acquired the final 40 per cent of Adama, the world's largest generic pesticide producer, from its Israeli founders.
Despite the global restructure grouping the Chinese, Swiss and Israeli-based chemical operations under one umbrella, they will continue to operate as individual entities, with a fourth division, Syngenta's seeds business.
The new parent entity boasts 48,000 staff in 100-plus countries, including 147 in Australia.
Last year its sales totalled $33.5b ($US23b), including popular brands Axial, Boxer, DualGold, Logran and Gromoxone.
Syngenta Group will not include ChemChina's network of non-agricultural chemical, petroleum and industrial business.
Speculation within the international agribusiness sector has, for some time, anticipated ChemChina would eventually float its agricultural operations as a new business entity.
Our Australian and New Zealand business is largely unaffected by what happens at corporate level in Europe and I don't expect any noticeable changes- Paul Luxton, Syngenta
This week's official formation of the Syngenta Group under the leadership of former Syngenta business chief executive officer Eryk Fyrwald has added more credibility to expectations of an eventual relisting of the company's name on at least one overseas stock market.
The Syngenta crop protection division will continue to be led by Jon Parr in Basel, who spent time with staff in Australia late last year.
Syngenta Seeds, which had sales of $4.4b in 2019, will be led by Jeff Rowe in Chicago, USA; Adama, which had sales of almost $5b is now headed by Ignacio Dominguez in Israel, and the $8b Syngenta Group China by Hengde Qin in Shanghai.
Former Adama CEO Chen Lichtenstein becomes Syngenta Group chief financial officer.
Business as usual
"Our Australian and New Zealand business is largely unaffected by what happens at corporate level in Europe and I don't expect any noticeable changes here," said Australasia territory head Paul Luxton.
"Our focus has continued to be on meeting demand from producers taking full advantage of the welcome seasonal kick we've seen around Australia since February.
"We're not out of the woods by a long shot, but conditions are much brighter than a year ago and have spurred a lot of extra demand in March and April."
Mr Luxton said different supply chain sticking points around the world caused by the coronavirus pandemic's impact on freight and production activity had prompted the Australian business to take a proactive stance with its inventory and expectations of farmers' needs for the rest of 2020.
Supply orders had also taken into consideration the possibility of a wet winter and the potential need for extra fungicide.
Syngenta Group has 15 key production sites worldwide.
Customers will continue to get the full attention of the businesses as they currently serve them, but the capabilities of each will be enhanced by collaboration across the Syngenta Group- Eryk Fyrwald, Syngenta Group
In Basel, Mr Fyrwald said the group had strong capacity to supply farmers with the solutions they needed and a mission to "deploy scientific innovations, technologies and services to help farmers sustainably provide the world with better food, feed, fibre and fuel".
Diverse and sustainable
"I am pleased our new organization is ready to bring the diversity and expertise of our teams to deliver the broadest range of sustainable and competitive products," he said.
"Customers will continue to get the full attention of the businesses as they currently serve them, but the capabilities of each will be enhanced by collaboration across the Syngenta Group."
Syngenta Group's various companies had a history of accomplishment, reaching back more than 250 years, with deep roots in many countries outside China, Europe and Israel, including the US where its global seeds and research and development operations were headquartered, Brazil and the UK.
Syngenta's original parent was British-based Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and Swiss companies Ciba Geigy and Sandoz.
"Our sustainability as an enterprise depends on the health of the soil and the environment as a whole," Mr Fyrwald said.
"We measure our success not just by our business performance, but by the benefits we bring to farming and the environment."
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