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Monsanto says it’s evaluating another Syngenta takeover bid

Monsanto Co. is considering whether to make another attempt to acquire Syngenta after state-owned China National Chemical Corp. made a bid for the world’s largest pesticide maker.

Monsanto is discussing internally the merits of making an offer, Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann told reporters in St. Louis Tuesday ahead of the company’s investor day presentations. Syngenta American Depositary Receipts jumped as much as 4.7 percent in New York.

In August, Monsanto withdrew a $46.6 billion proposed takeover after Syngenta rebuffed its approach. Syngenta is in talks with ChemChina, as the Chinese company is also known, about a deal after spurning a $42 billion all-cash offer, people with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

“Talking and doing is two different things,” Begemann said. “I can tell you there are lots of conversations in the industry.”

The crop chemicals industry is bound to consolidate because target companies are spending too much on research and development of products, he said. Still, Monsanto doesn’t need a big acquisition to reach its goal of doubling earnings to more than $10 a share by 2019, according to Begemann. Profit growth will accelerate to 20 percent a year following a forecast contraction this year, he said.

Begemann also said that while Bayer isn’t interested in selling its pesticide business, Monsanto could still pursue licensing deals with the German company. He declined to disclose specific deal talks the company has had.

He also said corn prices will rise to $4.50 a bushel and new products such as Intacta insect-resistant soybeans and dicamba-tolerant crops will boost sales.

Syngenta employs 750 people in Greensboro and 450 in Research Triangle Park, where it has a research and development center for both its seeds and crop protection businesses.

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