ChemChina ready for concessions to clinch delayed Syngenta deal in 2017: source

Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:15pm EDT
 
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By Chen Aizhu and Michael Shields

BEIJING/ZURICH (Reuters) - State-owned Chinese chemicals group ChemChina is ready to offer more concessions to win European Union antitrust approval for its $43 billion bid for Swiss pesticide and seed group Syngenta, a source with direct knowledge of the process said.

Clinching China's biggest-ever foreign acquisition is taking longer than planned amid a flurry of deals in the agriculture sector that Syngenta, the world's biggest pesticides maker, said on Tuesday had swamped competition watchdogs.

Syngenta expects the transaction to close around the end of March 2017, rather than this year as first planned, but insisted it would go ahead despite increased scrutiny by watchdogs gauging the impact of big deals on farmers and consumers.

Syngenta’s deal with ChemChina is one of two under EU scrutiny, while another mega deal involving Bayer and Monsanto is expected to land on the regulator’s desk in coming months.

Bayer and Monsanto have not formally requested EU approval but the European Commission has to consider this deal as well when assessing the ChemChina and Syngenta linkup, and another deal involving DuPont and Dow Chemical, to take into account the changing landscape, said an EU official.

Syngenta stock plunged more than 9 percent on Monday after a European Commission spokesman said the companies had not offered concessions to get the deal through, raising concerns about the likelihood of a longer, full investigation.

ChemChina submitted a proposal to the Commission in September, including a plan to divest some $20 million worth of assets from its agrichemical subsidiary Adama Agricultural Solutions, the Beijing-based source told Reuters.

But the Commission raised "a more detailed menu of possible remedies" last week, said the source, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.   Continued...

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