With the recent acquisition of seed brands from Bayer CropScience, Crystal Crop Protection Ltd expects to be among the top ten seed companies in the country.
Crystal Crop recently acquired Bayer’s cotton, mustard, pearl millet, and sorghum hybrid seed brands for an undisclosed sum.
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‘With this acquisition, we will be among the top ten seed companies in the country,’ said Ankur Aggarwal, Managing Director of Crystal Crop Ltd. With this acquisition, Crystal Crop’s seed business will grow from approximately 75 crores to approximately 300 crores.
Crystal Crop’s acquisition of Bayer is the company’s third in the seed sector. In 2011, it acquired Rohini Seeds, and in 2018, it acquired Syngenta’s Indian sorghum and pearl millet businesses.
According to Aggarwal, Crystal Crop will be among the top three players in the millets segment, with the latest acquisition increasing its share to around 15% of the estimated market of 16,000 tonnes of pearl millets.
Crystal Crop is the market leader in sorghum hybrids, according to Aggarwal, who added that the company also has a presence in maize hybrids. ‘We’re still selling around 1500 tonnes of maize seeds,’ he said.
Likewise, Crystal expects to be among the top 3-4 players selling hybrids in mustard. ‘Mustard is a fascinating opportunity, and some of the new hybrids look very promising. We want to grow this many folds from here, and we’re probably looking at a leadership position,’ Aggarwal said. Crystal Crop is developing 5-6 mustard hybrids, two of which are expected to be released in the coming year.
Crystal Crop will increase its share of the 6,000-tonne hybrid mustard seed market to around 15%. The acquisition of Bayer’s Surpass brand has assisted Crystal Crop in expanding its hybrid cotton seed business and increasing its market share from 1% to 5% of the estimated 18,800 tonnes. ‘Our cotton seed business will be substantial. We’d be one of five to seven companies with a 1.5-2 million packet market,’ he said.
Furthermore, Aggarwal stated that the acquired brands would contribute approximately 10% of Crystal Crop’s revenues beginning in the next fiscal year. Crystal Crop had revenue of 2,050 crore in 2020-21, with the majority of it coming from the crop protection business.
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In addition to the seed brands, Crystal received the entire breeding programme, research and development facilities, and a 45-person R&D team as part of the deal.
‘Our R&D strength in the seed business would be close to 60-65 people in total, with another 30-35 people in crop protection,’ Aggarwal said, adding that the company would continue to focus its R&D on existing field crops and strengthen its position in these categories.
Meanwhile, Crystal Crop is expanding its technical manufacturing capabilities in its dominant crop protection business in order to reduce its reliance on China. The limited company has already invested approximately ₹100 crores in a seven-acre greenfield technicals manufacturing facility for herbicides in Dahej, Gujarat. ‘We anticipate starting production in our Dahej facility on February 1, 2022,’ Aggarwal said.
Apart from this facility, Crystal Crop also has two other manufacturing plants in Nagpur and near Sonipat, Haryana, where it manufactures insecticides and fungicides. According to Mr. Aggarwal, the company is also planning to invest around ₹100 crores in these two facilities.
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The company offers 76 crop protection products in total, including 30 insecticides, 24 herbicides, 13 fungicides, and nine biostimulants. According to Aggarwal, the company’s crop protection business has grown faster than the industry average, with a compounded annual growth rate of 15% over the last five years.