Exclusive: ChemChina's Syngenta acquisition close to clearing U.S. review - sources

Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:41pm EDT
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By Greg Roumeliotis

(Reuters) - ChemChina's $43 billion acquisition of Syngenta AG (SYNN.S: Quote) is in the final stages of being cleared by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinizes deals for national security implications, people familiar with the matter said.

A positive end to the CFIUS review would remove significant uncertainty over whether the acquisition of the world's largest pesticides maker will be completed. Syngenta shares ended trading on Friday at 380.80 Swiss Francs ($396), some 100 Swiss Francs less than what ChemChina's offer valued the company.

Several U.S. lawmakers wrote to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew earlier this year asking for CFIUS to subject the deal to additional scrutiny over its impact on domestic food security. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also joined the CFIUS review, Reuters previously reported.

Syngenta and ChemChina expect that CFIUS will clear their deal, and are hoping to announce a positive outcome as early as this week, the sources said on Sunday, cautioning that the outcome was not yet certain.

It could not be learned whether the two companies had agreed to any concessions in their negotiations with CFIUS for their deal to be approved.

The sources asked not to be identified because there has not yet been any official announcement on the CFIUS review. CFIUS, Syngenta and ChemChina did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Syngenta said earlier this year it would make a voluntary filing with CFIUS "even though no obvious national security concerns were identified during due diligence".

Unveiled in February, the deal is the largest foreign acquisition ever by a Chinese company. It comes as China looks to secure food supplies for its population.   Continued...

People use an escalator outside the headquarters of ChemChina (China National Chemical Corporation) in Beijing, China, February 4, 2005. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo