Syngenta's sale of flower seed business highlights trend in ornamental industry

Swiss-based agrochemical company says shifts in consumer preferences main reason behind its consolidation move.

Syngenta: lawn and garden unit‘ - image: Syngenta
Syngenta: lawn and garden unit‘ - image: Syngenta

Syngenta's plan to sell its flower seed business is a sign of a trend towards lower seed use in the ornamental industry, say experts.

Switzerland-based Syngenta generated 4.6 per cent of its $15.1bn sales in 2014 through flower seeds.

The agrochemical company plans to concentrate on its higher-margin Lawn & Garden unit, which generated $325m in first half sales, and on pest management.

Syngenta said: "Divestment would enable the new entity to play a leading role in the consolidation of the home gardening market, which is taking place in response to changes in the distribution and retail channels driven by shifts in consumer preferences."

Jersey Plants Direct commercial development director Ian Riggs said: "This is a possible example of decreasing commercial flower seed sales, away from being for pack bedding to preplanted containers - flower seed requirement, a trend especially in the USA, is a pattern we are increasingly seeing in Europe."

He added: "The importance of variety is decreasing and there are alternatives to premium series at lower costs. So long as appearance and performance are 'adequate', they offer savings. No series has achieved consumer recognition or become a desired, marketable brand - the only possible exceptions being Surfinia and maybe Sunpatiens."

Riggs added that the retail market for especially pack bedding has become a price driven "commodity" sector dominated by large retailers, with "the costs and time associated with improved plant breeding for improvements that are small scale in production and not perceived or appreciated by consumers are becoming difficult to justify." He said: "The market place contains many excellent for example Pansy series such as Delta, Dynamite and Matrix, the fundamental base differentiator is price.

"Decreasing demand, competition from lesser known series with adequate performance and price pressure on growers have all contributed tostress in the seed sector."

Company strategy - Expansion unaffected

British Protected Ornamentals Association chairman Simon Davenport said: "Syngenta are accustomed to making strategic changes in their companies and that does not seem to affect the commercial service that they offer to UK growers; they continue also to be members and supporters of BPOA. They are market leaders and they will continue their practice of expanding their breeding efforts in vegetative and seed raised material for ornamentals business. We know the sector does not easily yield high margins and they understand their need to focus on areas with higher potential margins."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



These tidy evergreen trees are not just for Christmas and come in a range of shapes and sizes, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Green manure crops

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Green manure crops

Valuable tools to combat pests and diseases, improve soils and boost nutrient levels.

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Superior propagation products can justify extra expenditure by providing precise cell fill, optimum root development and healthy plugs, writes Sally Drury.

From The Editor - Production and retail showcase

From The Editor - Production and retail showcase

With the first entry deadlines for two of the industry's leading awards schemes looming, this is the perfect time to start thinking about which categories can best support your goals this year - and get cracking on those entries.

Seabrook on...Product showcase and valuable networking at Four Oaks

Seabrook on...Product showcase and valuable networking at Four Oaks

The Four Oaks Trade Show is a must on my calendar.

According To Edwards ... Changes large and small anticipated for UK producers

According To Edwards ... Changes large and small anticipated for UK producers

No one knows the changes that Brexit will impose on the UK over time. Some will surely be massive and they are already being guessed at. But there will be little changes too and some of those will ripple out over time to surprisingly large effect. I don't pretend to know what will happen, but it's fun to speculate.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.