Top Ten Seed Companies 2007

In a couple of days Hope Shand from ETC Group will be in court in the European patent Office to challenge Monsanto's Patent on Soy beans - a patent that we have been contesting for 13 years and that originally Monsanto themselves opposed!! You can read more about that here. In the meantime, ETC Group is releasing its new ranking of the world's top 10 seed companies, based on 2006 seed revenues. The list appears below.

It's a deceivingly simple list but it took many hours to compile. Why? Well, a few companies like Monsanto which now defines itself as a seed and biotech trait company (rather than a chemical company), provides easy-to-find figures on their seed revenues. But for many other companies, it's not-so-straightforward because some companies don't provide a separate breakdown of seed revenues. In many cases we were forced to call the companies and track down the individual (most of whom don't want to be named) who could provide us with the correct information. Some of the companies were very obliging. In other cases, we were out of luck. Japanese company, Takii, for instance does not appear on this year's list because we couldn't get hold of 2006 seed revenues. (Takii is a private company.) Despite several attempts to get seed revenues from Dow Agrosciences, the company does not release separate information on seed revenues. (Dow doesn't appear on our list and it's probably not in the top 10 anyway.) If anyone knows anything about Takii, please let us know.

One of the noteworthy things about this year's list is that Monsanto has moved so far ahead of the pack way ahead of its closest competitor, Dupont (Pioneer). It's remarkable, considering the fact that, one decade ago, Monsanto's name didn't even show up on our ranking of the world's largest seed companies! According to one of its competitors, Monsanto's seed revenues are inflated because the company includes trait royalties that are actually paid by other companies.

This year we want to thank the guys at the Des Moines, Iowa-based Context Network, seed industry analysts. We're using their figure on the value of the world's seed market, and the value of the proprietary seed market. (Personal communication with Mark Nelson.) Find Context Network here:

However, we hasten to add that Context Network is not in any way responsible for ETC Group's list (below), or our analysis we only used their figures on the global value of the seed industry.

Later this year, ETC Group will release other top 10 lists (for agrochemicals, animal pharma, biotech, genomics, grocery retailers, food processors, and more). Please stay tuned.

The World's Top 10 Seed Companies

World's Top 10 Seed Companies
Based on 2006 Seed Revenues

2006 seed revenues
US $ millions

1. Monsanto (US) $4,028

2. Dupont (US) $2,781

3. Syngenta (Switzerland) $1,743

4. Groupe Limagrain (France) $1,035

5. Land O' Lakes (US) $756

6. KWS AG (Germany) $615

7. Bayer Crop Science (Germany) $430

8. Delta & Pine Land (US) (acquisition by Monsanto pending) $418

9. Sakata (Japan) $401

10. DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) $352

Source: ETC Group

Based on 2006 revenues, the top 10 seed corporations account for 55% of the
commercial seed market worldwide.

Concentration Trend Continues: According to estimates provided by industry analysts, Context Network, the value of the overall commercial seed market was $22,900 million in 2006 (includes seeds purchased from public breeding programs). (1) By contrast, just two years ago, ETC Group reported that the top 10 accounted for 49% of the worldwide market. In 1996 - one decade ago - the top 10 seed companies accounted for 37% of the worldwide market - and Monsanto did not even appear on the list.

The market share of the top 10 seed companies is even greater when looking at the proprietary (that is, brand name commercial seed most of it subject to intellectual property) seed market. According to Context Network, the global proprietary seed market was worth $19,600 million in 2006.

* In 2006, the top 10 companies account for $12,559 million - or 64% of the total proprietary seed market.

* Monsanto - the world's largest seed company - accounts for more than one-fifth of the global proprietary seed market.

* The top 3 companies - Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta - account for $8,552 million - or 44% of the total proprietary seed market.

* The top 4 companies account for $9,587 million - or almost half (49%) - of the total proprietary seed market.

1 The Context Network.

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