Syngenta deal could pave way for biotech acceptance from China users

Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:06am EST
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By Rujun Shen and Gavin Maguire

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - ChemChina's purchase of Syngenta SYNN.VX could remove some of the suspicion around genetically modified crops and ultimately lead to more rapid user acceptance of biotechnology in food production in China, Syngenta's Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk told Reuters.

The $43 billion all-cash deal unveiled last week is the largest foreign acquisition ever by a Chinese firm, and marks a massive upgrade to China's crop production potential.

The deal would also give Swiss-based Syngenta unrivalled access to China's massive, yet fragmented and underdeveloped, crop market. China is the world's largest grain producer, and is a major grower of vegetables, oilseeds, cotton and sugar. (For other stories on the deal, please see)

The Basel-based COO of Asia-Pacific and North America, who is on a tour through Asia to address customer concerns about the pending takeover, said Syngenta had been limited in its activities in China as a foreign company but could now leverage ChemChina's local knowledge to build its share of the multi-billion dollar agrochemical and seeds market.

Syngenta is already the market leader in the fungicides and insecticides industry within China, with a roughly 6 percent share.

"Our crop protection market share in China is significantly below our market share in other parts of the World," Pisk said on Friday, adding that the company's average share in Asia is around 12 percent, and nearly 20 percent globally.


Syngenta's Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters at their office in Singapore, February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su