MANA Poised To Run With The Big Dogs?

December 4, 2011

With its recent purchase of 60% of the stock in Makhteshim Agan Group (MAI), the Chinese ag chemical industry gained a potential marketing arm in the U.S. where MAI operates through MANA, its stateside subsidiary.

If Chinese researchers have new chemicals in the pipeline – a likely situation – MANA provides an established marketing arm in North America.

The controlling interest was purchased by China National Agrochemical Corporation, itself a full subsidiary of China National Chemical Corporation (aka ChemChina). ChemChina is the largest chemical producer in China.

MANA, up until now a generic and off-patent manufacturer, could be running with the chemical industry’s big dogs later this decade, introducing new materials stemming sourced in Asia, among other places.

While the term “China” never came up in the announcement, MAI company recently said in November that it has established a division that will find and develop new products aimed at the ag market.

The new division, the announcement stated, “will focus on scouting, development and commercialization of technologies that can simplify farming.”

The key word there may be “scouting,” since that implies the company will look widely for new molecules and compounds.

In other words, licensing patents for products developed elsewhere The ag chemical business has long been a bit akin to a baseball league, trading and moving around compounds, looking for the right company in a given region that can return the best profit on development costs.

MAI’s announcement dwelt on the connection to Israel, where the company is based. Israel is no stranger to innovation. But China could prove to be an even richer source of novel products going forward.

Erez Vigodman, MAI’s President and CEO of MAI, said in the release: “We intend to leverage innovative agro-technologies by bringing into play our global resources, strong customer relationships and deep knowledge of agro markets.”

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