BASF to purchase Ames business for $1.02 billion


Photo courtesy of BASF

BASF Comes to Ames

Trevor Werner

BASF, a company headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany, has made plans to buy Becker Underwood for a price of $1.02 billion. Becker Underwood is a company specializing in the development and commercialization of yield-improving and value-creating seed-applied biological products for the agricultural sector.

Based in Ames, Becker Underwood has 14 locations spread across five continents and operates in seven primary product families: BioStacked technology, inoculants, seed coatings, biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, livestock management products, and landscape colorants and coatings.

According to Becker Underwood’s website:

“Becker Underwood’s core competency is the rapid commercialization of breakthrough [research and development]. The culture of practical, demand-led innovation that pervades the company is supported by expertise in the discovery of new products, the development of efficient and effective manufacturing processes and know-how in biological formulations that have been developed over the company’s 30-year history.”

Becker Underwood began in Ames in 1982 with only one product: the Spray Tracer, a specialty spray marking dye for the agricultural market. From then until 2000, they rapidly expanded through introducing new products and small acquisitions.

With this acquisition, BASF hopes to expand both companies’ abilities in the global market.

“We are impressed with Becker Underwood’s ability to translate growers’ needs into innovative, tailor-made solutions that can promote higher yields while conserving resources,” said Andreas Kreimeyer, research executive director and member of BASF’s Board of Executive Directors responsible for the Agricultural Solutions segment, in a press release published Sept. 20. 

“Becker Underwood is to become part of BASF, and we are excited that together with our new colleagues, we can continue expanding our competencies. Particularly in the rapidly-growing seed treatment market, we will be able to develop innovative solutions for agriculture,” Kreimeyer said.

BASF is a worldwide company specializing in chemicals, plastics, performance products, functional solutions, and oil and gas. They have about 111,000 employees, six verbund sites and 370 production sites worldwide.

With an influence in almost every country in the world, this purchase of Becker Underwood will be a great stepping stone for Iowa State students interested in this field to get into the global market.

“Becker Underwood has a strong position in North America. We will continue to expand this core business as we expand globally. Together we can sustainably create value for our customers,” said Markus Heldt, president of BASF’s Crop Protection division. “We are thrilled at the prospect of working with the highly-qualified employees at Becker Underwood as we continue to develop our combined businesses.”