Certis USA Considers New Business Models
COLUMBIA, MD (April 26, 2005) – Certis USA announces the departure of Dennis Banasiak as CEO of the integrated pest management (IPM) solutions company. Certis USA is a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Japan’s largest trading company. Mitsui and the shareholders of Certis USA have named fellow shareholder Shoichi Imazu as CEO.
Imazu said, “The shareholders have confirmed their continued support for Certis USA. This support is based on their strong expectation that Certis USA will remain a core organization to conduct Mitsui AgriScience’s IPM strategy in the U.S.”
The change in management does not alter the current objective of defining the role of Certis USA in the agricultural, turf and ornamental (T&O) and home and garden industries, said Tim Damico, VP, NAFTA Sales & Marketing. “We’ve been working this last year to create a business model that capitalizes on the current realities in our marketplace. It’s exciting. Mitsui and the shareholders have given us virtually free reign to consider all options of doing business.”
Those marketplace realities, Damico said, can be viewed either as difficult or full of opportunities. For example, with the 1997 purchase of Novartis’ sprayable Bt insecticide business, Certis USA become a world leader in the production of bioinsecticides. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticides are the most proven of the biological technologies. But with the development of Bt-based crops through biotechnology, the widespread use of sprayable Bts has decreased drastically on high-acreage row crops. Certis USA’s sales team has carved new markets for the Bts by identifying pest control needs in specialty crops, such as vegetables and fruit and nut trees. The company furthered its work in specialty crops with other challenging chemistries, including botanical insecticides/fungicides and beneficial insecticidal viruses, such as CYD-X® insecticidal virus, which has quickly become a standard control for codling moth in the tree fruit industry.
“We honed our marketing skills in the high-value crop area and found we are very good at it,” Damico said. “Currently we are working for ways to elevate our sales and marketing team. We are also realigning our product portfolio to ensure that the team has no distractions.” Certis USA recently sold its insecticidal nematode business to Becker Underwood, Inc. of Ames, IA. Damico said, “Becker Underwood will be a good steward to those products, and now we have more opportunity to focus our resources on CYD-X and our new application techniques for Soilgard® microbial fungicide.”
“By mid-summer, we plan to announce a new organization that highlights the sales and marketing team,” Damico says. “Larger chemical companies do business in these markets through their sheer size. We’re lean, but we’ve got the backing of a major company in Mitsui, and our experience and skills in specialty agriculture and other high-value markets are unparalleled.”
Prior to his position as CEO of Certis USA, Imazu was General Manager, Fertilizer Business of North and Latin America for Mitsui USA. Imazu began his career with Mitsui in 1979 and over the years has held management positions in the Mitsui’s fertilizer and chemical businesses in Tokyo, Moscow, New York and London.
Headquartered in Columbia, MD, Certis USA manufactures and distributes crop protection products that fill specialty niches in the agricultural and horticultural markets. Certis USA product brands include: Agree®, Condor®, CryMax®, Deliver®, Javelin® and Lepinox® and bioinsecticides; Azatin® and Neemix® botanical insect growth regulators; Triact®, Trilogy® and Trilogy® XL botanical fungicide/miticides; Soilgard® microbial fungicide; CYD-X®, GemStar® and Spod-X® insecticidal viruses. Certis USA is a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Japan’s largest trading company. Mitsui has worldwide annual sales of $130 billion through diversified businesses in more than 90 countries. Mitsui also markets and distributes crop protection products and services directly and through its marketing subsidiaries in Europe, Japan, Africa and the U.S. Its global crop protection sales exceed $500 million annually