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Mitsui & Co. Acquires Top Seeds

May 31, 2017

Top Seeds 2010 has been officially acquired by Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. as of May 1, 2017. Moving forward, the company will conduct business under the name, Top Seeds International.

Founded in 2003, Top Seeds is a global vegetable seed company that focuses on research, production, and the marketing of high quality hybrid vegetable seeds under a leadership team comprised of industry experts in breeding and product development, according to the company website.

“Since then (2003), we established many long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships with clients, focusing on developing outstanding products and service in key growing markets,” said Jan Leune, CEO of Top Seeds International, in a company statement.

From its base of an industry leading germplasm and in-house expertise, Top Seeds’ product portfolio includes tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplant.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Mitsui & Co. is an diversified investment, service, and trading house with a presence in multiple global agribusiness sectors. The group pursues long-term growth and strong alliances with both business partners and customers. Although Mitsui is highly diversified, this investment in Top Seeds marks its first acquisition in the vegetable seed sector, and is being viewed as a platform from which to build a significant presence in the market.

May has been a busy month for Mitsui. On May 8 the group led a $40 million Series D for sustainable, biological fish and livestock feed developer and producer, Calysta Inc. The funding from the round has been earmarked to support the scaling up and commercialization of Calysta’s FeedKind™ protein, a family of alternative feed ingredients developed and produced by the California-based company for the fish, livestock, and pet sectors.

Approximately one week later, it was announced that Misui had agreed to invest 900 yen (US$8 million) in exchange for an 80 percent stake in FDR Japan Co. – a startup that is pioneering a recirculating systems that will enable land-based fish farming in Japan.

Other notable investments by Mitsui in the ag and fisheries sectors include the acquisition of a 23.4 percent stake in Chile-based salmon producer and processor Salmex for US$100.7 million in October 2015; the aquisition of a 50 percent stake in non-GMO soybean breeder and handler, Bluegrass Farms of Ohio Inc., for $15 million; and the co-leading of a C$58 million funding round for precision agriculture and data management company Farmers Edge in January 2016. It is through this investment in Farmers Edge that Mitsui has also gained access to Eastern Colorado Seeds, which Farmers Edge partnered with in April 2016.

Through its investment in Top Seeds, Mitsui aims to strengthen the company’s research, production, and marketing operations while also enhancing its established presence in the agriculture industry through potential collaborations and tie-ups with other outside vegetable seed companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, all Top Seeds facilities, operations, local subsidiaries, and team transferred to Top Seeds International upon closing of the deal to ensure a smooth period of transition.

“I am very excited about what the future holds for Top Seeds International, and look forward to continuing to provide additional value to the industry,” said Leune.

-Lynda Kiernan

Lynda Kiernan is Editor with GAI Media and daily contributor to GAI News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@globalaginvesting.com.

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