BASF Plant Science says goodbye to Europe
Ludwigshafen – BASF Plant Science GmbH, the agrochemistry and biotech arm of the world-largest chemistry company, thinks that it has outstayed its welcome in Europe. Over the next two years, most of the green biotechnology research of BASF will leave the continent. The unit will move its headquarters from Limburgerhof in Germany to the U.S. The two research sites in Gatersleben, Germany, and Svaloev, Sweden, will be closed. In Limburgerhof the staff count will fall from 157 to 11. BASF founded the agricultural center in Limburgerhof in 1914 and has 11,000 square meters of greenhouses and about 40 hectares of fields. All in all, 140 European jobs will be lost, the company said. Furthermore, the development and commercialisation of products targeted solely at European markets will be cancelled. Genetically modified potato products will no longer be developed specifically for Europe, though the unit will continue seeking regulatory approval to “maintain all options,” the company said. The company cited the resistance to plant biotechnology from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians in Europe pulled the trigger on the European sites. The plant-science unit will concentrate on the Americas and Asia, BASF said. A lot of jobs will move to the new headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. The only bright spot is that BASF said it will bolster its metabolite profiling subsidiary Metanomics GmbH in Berlin and biotech unit CropDesign in Ghent, Belgium. There are plans to expand the sites modestly, and a few of the jobs lost in Limburgerhof, Gatersleben and Svaloev will migrate there.