Makhteshim Agan Changing Name, Product Line to Adama

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Makhteshim Agan, the world largest manufacturer of generic agrochemicals, said on Sunday it would begin doing business in April under the new − and for English-speakers more easily pronounceable − name Adama.

Adama means earth or soil in Hebrew, which the company said aims to reflect its focus on herbicides and pesticides for farmers. The company’s corporate name became Adama Agricultural Solutions at the end of last week, with the rest of the corporate-identify makeover due to be rolled out gradually among its subsidiaries by the end of next year, the firm said. By then, Makhteshim will be using the Adama name in 40 countries, a change it said would simplify its product portfolio and create “commercial and financial benefits.”

“Our decision to transition to a single global brand, Adama, marks yet another milestone in our evolution into a leading global organization with shared values, shared culture and a single brand name,” said CEO Erez Vigodman, who is due to step down next month to take over the top job at Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Formed from the merger of Makhteshim Chemical Works and Agan Chemical Manufacturers 17 years ago, Makhteshim has since emerged as the world’s seventh-largest company in the global agrochemical sector through acquisitions in Europe, the United States and Latin America. In the first nine months of last year, the latest for which figures are available, it derived 41% of sales from Latin America and 21% from Europe. Just 3% came from Israel.

Nearly four years ago, China National Chemical Corporation, popularly known as ChinaChem, bought a 60% stake in the company and delisted its shares from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, leaving the Israel’s Koor Industries as a minority shareholder. Makhteshim is readying an initial public offering in about a year’s time, which will raise its global profile further.

In the transition to the new brand, Makhteshim expects not only to change the names of its subsidiaries but also to narrow the number of brand names under which its products are sold in local markets.

“We see significant commercial value in the transition to a single global brand,” said Chief Commercial Officer Ignacio Dominguez, but he stressed that “many key aspects of the business will continue to be driven by local markets.”

The Adama plant in the Negev.