Arysta takes ‘asset light-high touch’ approach

Chemical company enters into relationships with other corporations rather than building manufacturing infrastructure

Expect to see more of Arysta LifeScience Canada in the coming months and years, say company officials.

The crop chemical company is known in Western Canada for its Group 2 herbicide products such as Everest and is now focused on building a diverse portfolio of products for prairie farmers.

“This is a pivotal time for us,” said Craig Brekkas, country head at Arysta LifeScience.

Since it bought Everest from Bayer CropScience in 2003, the company has expanded its portfolio to include four new products, which will see more growth in Western Canada over the next few years.

The global agricultural company has a wide range of products, which includes biosolutions, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and seed treatments.

Its sales have increased to about $2 billion globally since Platform Specialty Products bought it, along with Chemtura AgroSolutions and Agripharas, in 2014.

Rebranded in 2015, Arysta LifeSciences is currently ranked ninth in terms of size, but recent mergers of other chemical companies — Monsanto-Bayer and Dow Chemical-DuPont —will soon put the company in seventh place.

Arysta is also in the process of preparing an initial public offering, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Platform’s acquisitions of other companies, including Arysta, have produced a strong crop protection business, both seed treatment and biological, which has developed a broader platform going forward.

“What’s changed today with Platform buying the three organizations is that we know that Arysta LifeSciences is really here for the future. We are in a position where we’re going to be around,” said Brekkas.

Instead of a heavy manufacturing infrastructure, the company enters into long-term relationships with other corporations globally and licenses their proprietary technology out of those partnerships.

“There’s two strategic principles by which we operate and it really centres around the idea of being partner centric and being a preferred alternative in the marketplace.”

Much of the company’s efforts are then focused on sales and marketing.

“Our strategy is asset light–high touch,” said Brekkas.

The company has identified five areas it will invest in, which are all high margin and high growth opportunities:

  • crop establishment
  • resistant weed management
  • specialty protection niches
  • plant stress and stimulation related to biosolutions
  • crop residue management

“Today, about 50 to 60 percent of our business falls into those categories … but certainly for growth it’ll be 100 percent,” he said.

Arysta has primarily been focused on wheat for the past 10 years. Everest, a flucarbazone-sodium, residual herbicide, is one of its biggest products, which handles wild oats and other grassy weeds in cereal crops.

Brekkas said the Group 2 herbicide has been a real game changer for the company.

“It’s opened the doors to look at a long-term portfolio, crop strategy, and we’re building a franchise not around just on AI (active ingredient) and then building around it — it’s just more of a broad-based portfolio approach,” he said.

The company has built a strategy around a couple of core crops. It will remain focused on cereals such as barley and wheat but is now expanding into pulses and to a lesser extent corn, soybeans and canola.

“You’ll see over the next couple of years us almost reenergize our entire portfolio in those spaces and continue to offer more and more value for what we have,” he said.

Besides Everest, the company’s portfolio also includes Rancona and Evito.

Several launches of proprietary products are taking place over the next few years.

“This year we’ve launched a new Everest, we’ve launched Evito fungicide in cereals, we’ll be launching another couple fungicides next year, a new burn-down product next year, we’ve launched a new three-way seed treatment this year,” he said.

Everest 3.0 is the latest version to be released this spring. It has received a new formulation, which features enhanced performance on weeds, longer shelf life and ease of use for growers.

Inferno Duo, another herbicide with burn-down properties, uses a combination of a grass control and broadleaf product for spring wheat.

The company is also focused over the next three to five years on becoming the main player in bio-solutions in Canada.

Ten percent of Arysta’s business now comes from biosolutions, making it the second largest bio-stimulant company in the world. About 50 percent of its business in North America is in California and Eastern Canada, serving the horticulture market.

However, plans are underway to expand into Western Canada.

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