Headquartered in Germany, KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies with a footprint of more than 70 countries and employs around 4,700 employees. In the 2014/2015 fiscal year, KWS generated net sales of over €986 million.
For more than 150 years KWS has been managed as a family oriented and independent company. KWS’ core competence is in crop breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugar beet, cereals, potatoes, oil-seed rape and sunflower. To that end, KWS invested € 174 million last fiscal year in research and development, 17.7 percent of its net sales. As a result, KWS is able to provide farmers with almost 400 new, higher-yielding market approvals every year.
Why Wexford and the Benefits of BRDG Park
As one of the world’s largest agriculture companies and largest producer of seeds, KWS was posed to begin a second phase of global expansion by focusing on North America. It began a methodical and exhaustive search for a place to locate its North American research headquarters. Selecting a location would be a critical decision that would impact KWS and its growth objectives for decades to come. KWS was looking for a location from which it could recruit top agriculture and plant science research talent and have access to existing infrastructure and core facilities including greenhouses, growth chambers and expansive lab space. In addition, KWS preferred to locate in a robust innovation community. Finally, the firm was looking for a substantial commitment by state and local government for key economic incentives. The finalists in the search were San Francisco, Research Triangle Park and St. Louis. After several rounds of proposals, the Wexford and BRDG Park team ultimately delivered the winning move by traveling with a team of nine representatives from the St. Louis region to KWS’ headquarters in Germany to present its case to the entire KWS executive team, a gesture that no other candidate city made. KWS announced its decision to move to BRDG Park on June 16, 2014.
By 2019, KWS plans to build a team of at least 75 research and administrative personnel through a combination of relocation from its headquarters and hiring of new employees. Long-term additional growth opportunities for further expansion are planned. In addition to the lab and office space that KWS will lease at BRDG Park, their plans call for a significant investment in a dedicated greenhouse complex adjacent to Building One. In the interim, the global seed company will take advantage of the ability to lease research grade plant growth space at the Danforth Plant Science Center.*
* Source: http://www.brdgpark.com/press_release/st-louis-wins-competitive-search-to-land-major-player-in-ag-industry/
“With the establishment of the KWS Gateway Research Center we are now present in two of the world’s prime locations for plant research: USA and Germany. Located in BRDG Park, in the middle of a cluster of universities, institutes and startups, the new facility strengthens the position of KWS in global plant research, offering proximity to one of the key markets and major centers of excellence in plant research. We are supported by existing facilities within BRDG Park as well as by an excellent infrastructure and a top-quality science platform.”
- Léon Broers, Member of the Executive Board (Responsible for research and breeding)