BASF, the world\'s biggest chemicals maker, said Thursday it was buying US-based specialist in seed technology Becker Underwood for 785 million euros ($1.02 billion). Germany\'s BASF said it had reached an agreement with Norwest Equity Partners, the current owners of Iowa-based Becker Underwood, but that the purchase still had to be approved by antitrust authorities. The company said it expected to finalise the deal by the end of the year. \"We are impressed with Becker Underwood\'s ability to translate growers\' needs into innovative, tailor-made solutions that can promote higher yields while conserving resources,\" Research Executive Director Andreas Kreimeyer, who is also a member of BASF\'s board of executive directors, said in a statement. Becker Underwood has 10 production sites worldwide and 479 employees, the statement said.