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Bayer CropScience's Vegetable Seed Business Nunhems Acquires US Lettuce Seed Company Paragon Seed

MONHEIM, Germany, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer CropScience announced today that its vegetable seed business Nunhems has acquired the U.S. seed company Paragon Seed Inc. Based in Salinas, California, Paragon Seed specialises in the breeding, production and sales of lettuce varieties. The company with sales of US-Dollar 8.5 million 2006 [approximately EUR 5.8 million] belongs to the market leaders in the United States in this segment and supplies the U.S. market as well as Mexico. With this step Nunhems strengthens its position in the lettuce seed market in the Americas. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The lettuce seed market with a volume of about US-Dollar 60 million [about EUR 41 million] is one of the three most important vegetable markets in the United States. Nunhems is already a leader in this segment in Europe. Furthermore, the acquisition offers the exchange of seed production know-how. Nunhems will continue to market the newly acquired varieties under the Paragon brand to assure continuation of the strong quality image in the market.

"The acquisition of Paragon is our fourth transaction in the vegetable seed segment this year. This clearly shows that we are committed to develop our promising vegetable seed business towards future growth," said Prof. Friedrich Berschauer, chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer CropScience.

And Douwe Zijp, Chief Executive Officer of Nunhems added: "Through this acquisition we can combine Paragon's expertise in breeding and seed production with Nunhems' know-how in breeding disease resistant varieties and Nunhems' molecular breeding capabilities."

Vic Heintzberger, President of Paragon Seed Inc., comments: "By becoming a part of Nunhems we will ensure that our genetics and our seed production expertise will be supported on a global scale and developed further so that we can offer growers new choices for lettuce seeds."

Bayer CropScience consequently pursues its strategy to further strengthen its portfolio in the vegetable seed business. In early 2007 the company acquired Unilever's processing tomato seed business followed by the acquisition of the assets of the Korean company SeedEx specializing in hot peppers and Brassica varieties in the summer of 2007. In October 2007 Nunhems acquired all assets relating to the asparagus breeding program from the Dutch Teboza Group.

Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 5.7 billion (2006), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of about 17,900 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at:

The company's vegetable seed business operates under the name of Nunhems. Nunhems(R) is the global specialist in vegetable seeds and sharing smart products, concepts and expertise with the professional horticultural production industry and supply chain. Its portfolio includes leading varieties and brands in crops such as leek, onion, carrot, melon, cucumber, tomato, watermelon, lettuce, pepper and chicory witloof. With annual sales of EUR 190 million in 2006, Nunhems is among the world's four leading vegetable seed companies with an extensive range of 28 species and some 2,500 varieties. With more than 1,200 people Nunhems is present in all major vegetable production areas in the world.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer CropScience AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future consolidated results, financial situation, development or performance of the Bayer CropScience AG or our parent company, Bayer AG, and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer AG's public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including Bayer AG's Form 20-F). Neither Bayer AG nor Bayer CropScience AG assumes any liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

SOURCE Bayer CropScience
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