Sunday, August 26, 2007

Indian firms acquire agrochemical companies of Argentina

United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL) of Mumbai has acquired three Argentinian agrochem and seeds companies. The first acquisition was Reposo SA in 2005, the second was ICONA in 2007 and the third Advanta a Dutch company( 2006) which has Argentine units. With these, UPL now has four manufacturing units and a R and D unit (employing 100 Argentines). The R and D unit is bringing out a new sunflower oil branded as Nutrisun, a high-stearic oil, as an alternative to transfat edible oils.

UPL is a global crop protection,seeds and chemical company with a turnover of 408 million dollars in 2006 which is expected to go up to 561 million dollars in 2007. Market cap of the group is 2 billion dollars. It has been on acquisition spree, having acquired 20 companies from around the world including in Japan and UK. UPL ranks as the third largest generic agrochemical company in the world.

I met Rajju Shroff ( the senior) and Jai Shroff (the junior, globe-trotting and ambitious young man, typical of the go-getter, new generation of globalised Indian enterpreneurs) recently. They are upbeat about their Argentine operations. They are also doing business in Brazil, Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

Later, I met Hariharan, chief of the international operations of Excel Group from Mumbai, which is exporting agro chemicals to Argentina. This group is also planning acqusitions in Argentina.

Another company Punjab Chemicals and Crop Protection Ltd ( PCCPL) has acquired an Argentine company " Sintesis quimica " for 10 million dollars, recently.

Being an agro power, Argentina is a natural and large market for Indian cos doing business in agro inputs such as chemicals and machinery. Besides exports, Indian cos can also explore imports and tech transfer from Argentina, which is advanced technologically and commerically in agri and food processing business. Our import of soy oil from argentina was over 800 million dollars in 2006 !

Guess what is common between the three Indian companies, apart from their Argentine acquistions !
The owners of all the three companise are "Shroffs".. related by blood but competitors in business !.. Viva el mundo de Shroffs !

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