Montsano, the developer of genetically engineered crops, has agreed to buy Seminis, the world’s biggest producer of vegetable and fruit seeds.

The deal, which totalled $1.4bn (£534m), was made with Fox Paine & Co, the private equity and minority investors, according to The Times today.

Seminis provides more than 3,500 seed varieties for commercial growers and wholesalers and is the world's largest developer of tomato seeds.

Montsano, a producer of genetically modified maize and soybeans, derives 40% of its business from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Last year it had revenues of $526m.