The construction of an international agricultural cooperative group


Heading towards 2020

Guided by a strong ambition and a long-term view of its development, Limagrain is seeking to become a benchmark international player in seeds and cereal products, while also cultivating its base in Auvergne, where it has its roots. A unique history that continues to be written based on its three values: progress, perseverance and cooperation.


Acceleration of internationalization in field seeds

Limagrain is aware that only a few players present internationally will continue to exist over the long term in field seeds. Being an international player means having a dimension that makes it possible to commit to upstream research programs, which are essential in the plant breeding process. It is no longer possible to ignore tropical regions, either in terms of markets or genetic resources. Today, with its recent operations in Brazil, India, China and Africa, Limagrain is present in more than 90% of global acreage in corn.

Acquisition of Jacquet and entry into bakery products

The acquisition of Jacquet marked Limagrain's entry into the bakery world. It reflected the Group's desire to extend its integrated chain strategy from seed to bread. Jacquet gave Limagrain a way to ensure opportunities for the production of its farmer members through value chains. In return, Jacquet gained in strength and popularized its select flour, meeting specific needs. In 2011, Brossard enhanced Jacquet by providing it with the products and skills of the French leader in pastries. Today, Jacquet Brossard is the No. 1 French industrial baker.


Acquisition of Nickerson

Wheat is the No. 1 crop in Europe. As the European leader in seeds, Limagrain was also seeking to operate in straw cereal seeds. In 1990, Limagrain decided to purchase Nickerson, the only player present in Western Europe. Nickerson would be the cornerstone for the wheat chain strategy in Limagne. Other acquisitions then followed to consolidate Limagrain's wheat activity. In 2010, Limagrain Cereal Seeds was created in the United States to extend wheat's development internationally. Today, Limagrain is No. 1 in Europe in wheat seeds and is striving to become an international player in this crop.

Creation of Biosem, first plant biotech laboratory in Clermont-Ferrand

In 1983, the Group perceived the emergence of biotechnology and decided to create a cellular and molecular biology laboratory dedicated to plant improvement. Biosem was opened in 1986. At the time, Limagrain was the only European seed group to have such a research structure. Convinced that biotechnology investments were out of reach for a player acting alone, Limagrain created Biogemma in 1997, in partnership with other French seed companies, then Genective in 2011, in partnership with the German seed company KWS. In 2012, at Chappes in the heart of Limagne, Limagrain set up the largest European research station dedicated to field seeds.


Creation of a corn mill in Ennezat, first step in the integrated chain policy

In 1983, Limagrain created a corn mill in Ennezat to valorize the production of grain corn from the Cooperative's farmer members. It was the first step in the integrated chain policy: to create value by processing on site. This was followed by the creation of the Ulice laboratory in 1992, with the assignment of establishing a novel concept: from seed to ingredient. This strategy resulted in innovative products such as functional flours and reserved varieties such as Europlata semolina corn for the breakfast cereal market. In 2002, Limagrain decided to bring together all of its ingredients activities with the company Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients. Production in traced integrated chains was assigned to the Cooperative. Today, LCI is the European leader for functional flours.

Creation of the first corn research station in North America

As the European leader in corn, Limagrain wanted to establish itself in the United States to continue its activity and have access to American corn genetics. A decision was made to open a first research station in Kirkland, Illinois. Fairly quickly, other stations were created. At the beginning of the 1990s, business covered the heart of the Corn Belt and Canada. It was then supplemented by the acquisition of several North American seed companies in Illinois, Indiana and Ontario. As players that were until then fairly limited, Limagrain and the German seed company KWS combined their efforts in 2000 to create AgReliant, a 50/50 joint venture which brought together their activities of corn and soybean in North America. Today, AgReliant is No. 3 in America in corn seeds.


Acquisition and entry into the world of vegetable seeds

Recognizing the fact that the LG11 venture wouldn't last forever, the Board of Directors looked for diversification opportunities that were complementary to corn. The acquisition of Vilmorin in 1975 was the beginning of the venture in vegetable seeds. Here again a bold step was taken for a prestigious company, even though it was in trouble. Very quickly, the Top Executives understood that the vegetable seeds market was an international and very segmented market. Internationalization took place in phases and was organized into Business Units in proximity with their markets. Limagrain became the only vegetable seeds company directly and significantly present on the five countries of excellence: France, United-States, Netherlands, Japan, Israel. This development led to Limagrain becoming No. 2 in the world in professional vegetable seeds today and the No. 1 European player in the consumer seeds market.

The Cooperative adopts the name of Limagrain and invests in research

The history of Limagrain began in 1965. Mindful of the development of hybrids in the United States, a team of young directors were convinced that corn offered great potential. The Board then took a bold step: to launch the Cooperative into research, by creating a station on the Domaine de Mons in Aubiat in France. It had an original goal: to create varieties of early corn, adapted to northern Europe. In 1970, Limagrain registered its first corn hybrid: LG 11. Very quickly, LG 11 propelled the company to become the leader in France, and then in Europe, in early corn. The starting point for the Limagrain adventure.