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Less than a week ago, Monsanto Company (MON - Analyst Report), an agricultural products company, acquired a few assets of Agradis Inc.; an agricultural solutions provider, from co founders Synthetic Genomics and Plenus for an undisclosed price. In addition, Monsanto also signed a multi-year research collaboration agreement with Synthetic Genomics and also made an equity investment in the latter.

The acquisition involves the purchase of the brand name “Agradis” and a collection of the company’s microbes, useful for improving crop productivity. With the purchase of Agradis’ assets, Monsanto will be able to offer better products and solutions to its customers, which can result in improved crop health and productivity.

Agradis was co-founded by Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) and a Mexican company, Plenus S.A. de C.V. (Plenus) in the year 2011, with a motive to provide farmers with improved agricultural solutions. The chief focus of Agradis was on developing and commercializing products to enhance crop production efficiency through the use of new advances in genomics and plant breeding. The founder companies, after the acquisition, will continue to work on the remaining assets of Agradis under a new company, AgraCast.

The multi year research collaboration with Synthetic Genomics, also included in the latest deal will involve developing some biological products for Monsanto to enable improvement in agricultural productivity.

Also, in another press release, the company announced the approval of a dividend payment of 37.5 cents per share. The shareholders on record as on Apr 5, 2013, will receive the dividend on Apr 26, 2013.

Monsanto currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth a look in the industry are Gruma S.A.B. de CV (GMK - Snapshot Report), holding a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Syngenta AG (SYT - Analyst Report) as well as Deere & Company (DE - Analyst Report); each holding a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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