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AgrEvo Deal With Cargil Set Aside

February 4, 1999

MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) _ Cargill Inc. has set aside a plan to sell most of its North American seed operations to a German company, the two firms announced in a joint statement Thursday.

The planned $650 million sale of Cargill Hybrid Seeds North America to Hoeschst Schering AgrEvo GmbH had already been on hold for several months pending resolution of a lawsuit filed against Cargill by Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

Pioneer filed suit against Cargill and two other seed companies last October in Iowa, claiming the companies bred corn hybrids using genetic material developed by Pioneer.

Cargill said Tuesday that it was trying to settle the lawsuit after tracing suspicious genetic material in its breeding program back to a former Pioneer employee hired by Cargill.

Pioneer filed suit Wednesday against Thomas W. Ishler of Leola, Pa., alleging that he was the former employee who had given its genetics information to its competitors.

On Thursday, Pioneer filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co., accusing it of wrongly obtaining Pioneer’s seed genetics when it purchased Cargill’s international seed business in June.

Cargill’s agreement with AgrEvo, announced last September, included research and production facilities in 14 U.S. states and one Canadian province. The Cargill division had sales of $106 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 1998.

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