from the October 2008 issue

Monsanto invests in Israeli plant biotech co Evogene

International seeds company Monsanto (NYSE: MON) is to invest a total of $65 million in Israeli company Evogene (TASE: EVGN) in stages. Evogene has developed technology for discovering and developing genes for the improvement of plant traits.

Initially, Monsanto will invest $18 million for 13.5% of Evogene. This implies a company value of $133 million for Evogene, 3.5 times its market cap at the close of trading yesterday. Monsanto has an option to buy shares for another $12 million, at a higher value, if Evogene meets certain commitments.

In addition, Evogene will receive some $35 million as an advance payment and in annual research payments for carrying out research for Monsanto. The investment is part of a five-year agreement for collaboration on identifying genes that affect a plant's yield, its ability to withstand harsh environments, and its use of fertilizers.

Evogene will provide Monsanto with genes it identifies that can improve the properties of seeds. The genes will be tested by the two companies jointly in model plants, and if they are found to lead to improvement, Monsanto will incorporate them in the seeds it sells. Monsanto will receive an exclusive license on these genes for several crop plants, among them maize, soy, canola, and cotton.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report October 2008

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