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Ex-Nufarm predator new Roundup distributor

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MELBOURNE, March 6 AAP

March 06 2013, 4:44PM

A subsidiary of a Chinese company that unsuccessfully tried to take over agricultural chemicals supplier Nufarm has been appointed the new distributor of the Roundup weedkiller in Australia and New Zealand.

Nufarm, which currently holds the right to distribute Roundup-branded glyphosate, announced on Tuesday that it would lose that right near the end of August 2013.

The Australian subsidiary of Chinese-based global chemical firm Sinochem International is the new distributor of Roundup in Australia and New Zealand.

Sinochem Australia said on Wednesday that international agricultural biotechnology firm Monsanto, the owner of Roundup, had granted it the right to exclusively distribute Roundup in Australia and New Zealand from September 2013.

Sinochem Australia managing director Roger Angell is a former head of Australia and New Zealand for Monsanto. Two other senior executives of Sinochem Australia are also former employees of Monsanto.

Sinochem will initially focus on promoting Roundup's quality and effectiveness.

"Sinochem Australia and Monsanto will commit significant resources to the marketing and development of Roundup brands in Australia and New Zealand," Mr Angell said.

Over time, Sinochem will introduce a comprehensive range of crop protection products to Australia and New Zealand to complement the Roundup range.

As the company's business grows in Australia, Sinochem will consider formulating and producing some of its products at Australian plants.

Nufarm terminated takeover talks with China's Sinochem Corporation in December 2009 because a revised and lower offer from Sinochem of $12 per Nufarm share was unacceptable - down from an original proposal of $13 per share.

Nufarm's glyphosate sales under the Roundup brand in Australia and New Zealand were worth about $100 million in fiscal 2012.

Nufarm said on Tuesday that its cost position would improve after the end of the agreement with Monsanto, and it expects to maintain a strong presence in the glyphosate market.

Shares in Nufarm were 31 cents higher at $5.16 on Wednesday.

By Trevor Chappell