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Crop Protection Regional Sales

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Europe

European sales, contributing 42% of global sales, grew in Q3 by 6.3%. Improved weather conditions and higher sales of fungicides and herbicides in central and eastern European countries mainly Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and surrounding country markets. The stronger Rouble helped offset last year’s currency weakness.

The 9-month period to September 2017 grew by 1.9%, driven by sales in eastern Europe. The outlook for Q4 and the 12-month period is positive as the winter cereals and oilseed rape planting area, already in progress, is expected to be much higher in key countries like France, Germany, UK due to the current harvests being impacted negatively by the weather conditions in parts of eastern Europe where excess rainfall has hampered harvesting as well as cereal planting. Spain and Portugal are suffering from an extended drought with sowing expected to drop to 50% of last year’s area.

North America

North American regional sales, contributing 35% of global sales, improved marginally, increasing by 0.5% in Q3 2017, while they grew considerably more by 6.5% for the 9-month period fungicides ending September 2017.

Volume growth was driven by sales of their Xemium™-based fungicides in large parts of the region which had experienced heavy rainfall and high humidity. Another driver was the new dicamba formulation (Engenia™) in glyphosate-resistant weed areas, where Monsanto supplied dicamba-tolerant seeds of cotton, soybean and corn (Xtend™/XtendFlex™ system) over 20-25 million acres (8-10 MHa).

Complaints of crop injury rose sharply this year, even in areas where it was presumably safe to spray, with authorities in four of the states having stopped/banned sales of dicamba-based products. All the major brands and their suppliers Monsanto, BASF, DuPont and Syngenta have been conducting widespread surveys and assessing the situation. Last year, the lead companies claimed it was possibly due to farmers having used generic, highly volatile versions of dicamba, often under windy conditions which resulted in spray drift. Farmers who used the the branded products ostensibly claimed satisfaction with their results.

This year, however, there was no such defense, since even the state and university scientists and extension agents observed clear indications of injury in fields at a distance. During subsequent inquiries this year most of the scientists established that there is no “safe” zone due to the nature of the active. It was also established that Monsanto, as the key player, had not disclosed all their trial results.

Dow AgroSciences Enlist™ system based on 2,4-D-choline, again a low-volatility product has offered some competition to both Monsanto and BASF, but on a much smaller level. Last year BASF increased capacity of their Beaumont, Texas dicamba plant from 8500 TPA to 13000 TPA, in anticipation of high demand for their Enginea™ brand for Monsanto in preparation for the dicamba-tolerant Xtend™ soybean and cotton varieties. This added considerably to their operating costs, showing in their lowered operating profits.

Outlook for Q4 2017 remains slightly positive as fungicide sales are expected to perform well due to moisture conditions in large parts of Canada and the US. Herbicide sales in fall-planted cereals are also expected to drive growth.

Latin America

Sales in the Latin America-Africa-Middle-East region, contributing 12.5% of global sales, declined (22.1%) as insecticide and fungicide volumes and prices were impacted negatively due to market conditions and planting choices in the safrinha crop. Also, fungicide inventory levels remained high.

Sales for the 9-month period to September 2017 declined 13.3%, for the above reasons and the currency impact of the strengthening Euro.

The outlook for Q4 2017 is positive as the main season starting October-November would boost sales of herbicides, while helping to liquidate inventories. Their fungicides sales would commence in December through January-February 2018. However, BASF remains weak in the insecticides segment, which could possibly be improved over the next few years with their product-in-development for aphids and other sucking pests.

Asia Pacific

Sales in the Asia-Pacific region, contributing 10% of global sales, increased by 7.2% during Q3 2017 showing a similar performance for the 9-month period, with growth of 7%.

Growth was driven by higher fungicide volumes in SE Asia and South Korea. Portfolio additions also increased sales with their new fungicide formulations (Seltima™, a slow-release formulation of pyraclostrobin and Adexar™ for rice blast and sheath blight) launched in India, as well as higher volumes of soybean, rice and cotton herbicides.

Sales of bentazon herbicide on rice (Basagran™) also contributed to growth in SE Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Australian sales contributed largely from legume and cotton herbicides.

Outlook for Q4 and the year-end 2017 remains strongly positive as the season has started off well and crop conditions are expected to stay well ahead of last year.

Inter-segmental Transfers

Inter-segmental transfers are mainly internal sales for products like herbicides, fungicides and insecticides used in Clearfield™ plant science and Functional Care.

Total Agricultural Solutions

The Total Agricultural Solutions segment of BASF sales declined (5.9%) during Q3 2017 mainly by volume +5%, price (8%) and currency (2.9%). For the 9-month 2017 period, growth of 1.8% was driven by volume +6%, price (2.3%) and currency (1.9%).

Growth for the quarter was led by Europe and Asia-Pacific, while for the 9 months it was by Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe with higher sales of proprietary herbicides and fungicides. BASF is adding to its insecticides portfolio with the registration of afidopyropen (Inscalis™) jointly with Meiji Seika Kaisha in Japan. This is strategically a good move on the part of BASF as they are decidedly weak in the insecticides segment. They have also signed an agreement with Bayer for €5.9 billion, with an intent to purchase Bayer Crop Science’s LibertyLink™ seeds portfolio, along with the associated traits and herbicides based on glufosinate. This would also place them firmly in the Top 4 rank of players in the combined crop protection and seeds industry.

The outlook for Q4 and the full year 2017 remains positive as crop conditions in cereals and oilseeds are expected to trigger off higher planting in all regions.

Crop Protection Products Sales

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Herbicides

Herbicides sales contributed 40% of their portfolio, not including speciality products. Revenues in Q3 increased 1% with a much more positive growth of 6.2% during the 9-month period.

Performance was driven by sales of cereal herbicides in Eastern Europe, rice, cotton and soybean herbicides in Asia-Pacific respectively, as well as North America, with the full launch of their new formulations based on dicamba and pyroxasulfone. Herbicide sales were affected negatively in western and southern Europe with the dry weather causing delays in spring planting and stress in winter-planted crops.

Dicamba-based and Kixor™-based products grew in the US and Latin America, while bentazon, imazethapyr and other products grew in Asia-Pacific. Dicamba manufacturing concentrate supplies to contracted buyers like Monsanto and DuPont, with BASF own brands were the major contributors in USA.

The outlook for Q4 2017 through H1 2018 remains strongly positive due to the start of winter cereals and oilseed rape planting season in Europe, Asia and North America during Q3-Q4. This would be complemented with the main summer crops of soybeans, corn and cotton in the southern hemisphere.

Growth rates for longer-term sales are forecast to be fairly high over the next 3-5 years as sales develop in North and Latin America for the major export crops, especially with glufosinate and LibertyLink™ seeds, while herbicide usage grows over larger areas of rice, wheat, soybean and other crops in Asia-Pacific. European sales are expected to remain the largest contributors.

Fungicides

Fungicides remain Agricultural Solutions’ largest segment, contributing 42% of sales, not including seed treatments and speciality products. Products are dominated by their portfolio of blockbuster SDHI fungicides for field crops as well as combinations for horticultural crops.

Sales declined for the quarter (1.1%), offset by growth of 2% for the first 9 months of 2017. Growth came from USA, Europe, Canada, China and SE Asia. Western and southern Europe remained impacted by exceptionally long hot, dry weather covering key crop areas. Market conditions improved considerably in Asia-Pacific overall with the progress of the monsoon, which saw growth of several premium fungicides launched on rice. Latin America did not perform well with the exception of some sales in the early part of the year.

The outlook is positive for the balance of 2017 as Q4 sales in Canada, western US and most of Asia-Pacific countries, are forecast to grow with foliar sprays in rice, canola, corn, soybeans, peanuts, oilseeds, sugar beet among others. With the possible exception of Spain and Portugal, sales of fungicides for winter cereals, oilseed rape as well as for orchards and vineyards in key countries would be using a higher number of fungicidal sprays for the rest of 2017 through Q1 2018.

Insecticides

Insecticides which contributed 9.5% of global sales, not including seed treatments, speciality and public health products, continued to decline in Q3, with a drop of (16.1%) and (8.5%) during the 9-months of 2017.

This was partly due to lower sales in North America where most areas experienced chilly weather and/or higher rainfall which was not conducive to growth of insect pest populations. Latin America, largely Brazil, saw no let up with high inventories from last season, where sales were impacted negatively by Monsanto’s IntactaRRPro™ soybean seeds in Brazil. Although the company was able to reduce some inventory through heavy price discounting, on maize/corn, cotton and other crops, it could not offset the low order situation. In Asia–Pacific regional markets, sales did not improve either, with the onset of late and extremely heavy monsoon rains.

BASF has taken a positive step with the registration of afidopyropen (Inscalis™) in collaboration with Meiji Seika Kaisha of Japan. This is a new molecule and is targeted at the sucking and piercing insects market, which currently faces no threat from genetically engineered insect-resistant crops. It is also likely to have advantages with control of resistant Homoptera. Some of their insecticide sales have been included in the Professional/Speciality/Public Health segment.

The outlook for the rest of 2017 is generally flat, since BASF does not have any competitive products and older ones like fipronil and alphamethrin remain under restrictions or face generic competition.