By Ron Hall

Landscape and lawn care businesses can expect a broader and more diverse range of "innovative solutions to meet their needs" as a result of BASF’s acquisition of Becker Underwood, says Nevin McDougall, Senior Vice President Crop Protection business North America.

BASF on Sept. 20 announced it is buying Becker Underwood, headquartered in Ames, Iowa, for $1.2 billion. The sale, pending legal approvals, is set to be completed by the end of the year.

"In the short term it’s business as usual," says McDougall. However, as the two companies review their portfolios and identify opportunities to better serve customers’ ornamental and turf care needs, he says industry professionals will see a stronger presence by BASF in the T&O market, one of many markets that BASF serves worldwide.

Green industry contractors are familiar with many of BASF’s fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. The company’s acquistion of Becker Underwood will add a diverse portfolio of innovative products for biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, animal nutrition and landscape colorants and coatings under its umbrella, as well. Becker Underwood, with 10 production sites worldwide, also provides technologies for biological seed treatment, seed treatment colors and polymers. It’s expecting sales of $240 million for fiscal year, ending Sept. 30.

As part of the acquisition, BASF’s Crop Protection division will create a strategic global business unit called Functional Crop Care. The unit will merge BASF’s existing research, development and marketing activities in the areas of seed treatment, biological crop protection, plant health, as well as water and resource management with those of Becker Underwood. Becker Underwood’s animal nutrition business will be integrated into BASF’s Nutrition & Health division.

"Becker Underwood has a tremendous history of innovating and deliverying new solutions," says McDougall. "We’re excited to be able to tap into their technologies.It’s a very nice fit and it compliments our portfolio of solutions in a broad range of markets."
Upon receiving the necessary legal approvals, the majority of Becker Underwood’s business will be integrated into BASF’s Crop Protection Division.