from the September 2007 issue

Syngenta buys Zeraim Gedera for $90-100m.

Sources reveal Ęthat Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta International AG (NYSE:SVT; SWX;SYNN) is acquiring seed development company Zeraim Gedera Ltd. from Markstone Capital Partners Group LLC at a valuation of $90-100 million. Syngenta has a market cap of $20 billion.

Markstone bought Zeraim Gedera in 2005 for $48 million and undertook to pay the company's shareholders an additional $4 million, subject to its performance. The company has paid $9 million in dividends over the subsequent 18 months, which means that Markstone is making a return of more than 100% on the investment. Markstone will record a profit of $50-55 million on its investment.

Zeraim Gedera was founded by seven families in the 1950s. The company's president and CEO is Ohad Zuckerman. It currently has over 200 employees and operates both in Israel and internationally. The company posted a turnover of $25 million in 2005, has reportedly passed the $30 million level, and expects $40 million this year, giving a growth rate of 20-25% a year.

Zeraim Gedera will reportedly continue as an independent company, even as it will now benefit from Syngenta's business infrastructure in sales, marketing and so forth.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report September 2007

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