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ChemChina wins EU, US nods for Syngenta takeover

Updated: 2017-04-06 07:09

ChemChina wins EU, US nods for Syngenta takeover

A researcher uses a pipette to develop method to detect specific gene of corn at a lab in Syngenta Biotech Center in Beijing. [Photo/Agencies]

Brussels/Washington - China National Chemical Corp won the European Union's antitrust approval for its $43 billion takeover of Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta AG, a day after the US gave its blessing, bringing China's largest foreign acquisition closer to the finish line.

ChemChina's offer to divest some pesticides and other agricultural products will remove "problematic overlaps" and allow EU regulators to clear the deal, the European Commission said in an emailed statement.

The US required the companies to divest three types of pesticides as a condition for completing the deal. The companies expect to close the deal by the end of June. The transaction still needs approval from Chinese antitrust authorities.

The takeover, announced a year ago, is one of a trio of megadeals that would reshape the global agrochemicals industry.

Dow Chemical Co's bid to merge with DuPont Co cleared its biggest hurdle last week when it won EU approval with hefty concessions. Bayer AG still needs approval for its purchase of Monsanto Co. The combined transactions would whittle down six industry players to three behemoths: one American, one German and one Chinese.

If the deal is completed, ChemChina Chairman Ren Jianxin would become the head of a chemicals giant that sells products as varied as rubber tires, pesticides and genetically modified crop seeds.

"Syngenta will stay Syngenta" and will keep its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, the company's chief executive officer, Erik Fyrwald, said last month. He said that he expected to keep his job and that he had been told that ChemChina management wouldn't be coming over to Syngenta.

"We're not integrating with ChemChina," Fyrwald said.

"There'll be ChemChina members coming onto our board. The chairman will be Chairman Ren from ChemChina. But we fully expect to operate as we do today."

ChemChina's offer for Syngenta was China's biggest overseas deal announced last year, when Chinese companies disclosed an unprecedented $248 billion of acquisitions outside its borders, according to compiled data.

The ChemChina-Syngenta deal was cleared by a US national security panel last August, removing what had been seen as the biggest hurdle to the deal.

The FTC has jurisdiction over the takeover because Syngenta sells its products in the US. The company got more than a quarter of its revenue in 2015 from seeds and crop protection in North America. The company also has several research and production facilities in the US.


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