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7-Misc: AgrEvo files antitrust suit versus Monsanto

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TITLE:  Herbicide maker files antitrust suit vs Monsanto
SOURCE: Dow Jones, by Michael Rapoport
DATE:   June 4, 1999

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Herbicide maker files antitrust suit vs Monsanto

A German agricultural-chemical company has filed an antitrust
lawsuit suit against Monsanto Co. and Scotts Co., alleging that
they have kept the German firm's herbicide from gaining a
stronger foothold in the market. AgrEvo Environmental Health Inc.
says it agreed to have Scotts market the AgrEvo herbicide, sold
as Finale or Final!, in an effort to make it a stronger
competitor to Monsanto's Roundup, which holds the lion's share of
the market. But shortly hereafter, Scotts entered a separate
agreement with Monsanto to become the exclusive marketer of
Roundup, and that took precedence at the expense of AgrEvo's
product, the suit alleges.

"The effect was to put an immediate end to the competition
between the two products, destroy (Finale) as a competitive
factor in the market and significantly expand and entrench the
monopoly position of Roundup," alleges the suit, which was filed
Thursday in federal court in Manhattan. Scotts hasn't done
anything since to market AgrEvo's product, according to the suit.
Scotts later arranged for Farnam Cos. to market Finale, but
Farnam is too small to make the product a real competitive force,
and Scotts structured the agreement so that AgrEvo has no other
choice but to work through Farnam, the suit alleged. Farnam isn't
a defendant in the suit.

Spokesmen for Monsanto and Scotts could not immediately be
reached for comment. AgrEvo is asking the court to void Scotts'
agreement with Monsanto, as well as for unspecified damages,
which could be tripled under antitrust law if a judge ultimately
sides with AgrEvo. AgrEvo Environmental is part of AgrEvo GmbH, a
joint venture between Germany's Hoechst AG and Schering AG.

Michael Rapoport, +1-212-227-2017

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