According to reports, Chinese state-owned chemical company ChemChina is close to agreeing a deal for Swiss seeds and pesticides giant Syngenta.
Reuters cites two people familiar with the matter in its report, published this Tuesday. It is thought that the deal will be announced on Wednesday when Syngenta will release its 2015 financial results. It is a time of big changes in the sector. Update: The deal was announced this morning. ChemChina has offered USD 465 in cash per Syngenta share plus a CHF 5 special dividend on closing, a $43B deal, the largest ever acquisition by a Chinese company.
Massive ChemChina – Syngenta deal to break Chinese acquisition record
The $42 billion (43 billion Swiss francs) deal is worth roughly 470 Swiss francs per share. According to one source there may still be some minor adjustments to the price. The move is the latest in a major shake-up of the seeds-and-crop industry.
In December, DuPont and Dow Chemical Co. announced an all-stock merger. This latest deal would see ChemChina pay a premium of 24% over Syngenta’s Monday close of 378.4 francs.
In afternoon trading in Zurich Syngenta’s shares rose 6.5% to 403.2 francs, while its U.S. listed shares went up 5.5% in premarket trading. Neither company was available to comment on news of the deal.
Bloomberg also ran a report on the possible deal, detailing that it would be the largest acquisition ever by a Chinese firm. Syngenta had previously been in on-off talks with Monsanto Co. about a possible deal, revealed Syngenta Chairman Michel Demare said in December.
Deal could run into trouble with European and Swiss authorities
After Syngenta rebuffed a takeover bid from Monsanto last year, Demare said that his company was thinking of making an acquisition, merging with a competitor or selling up. A number of Syngenta shareholders expressed their opposition to a deal with ChemChina in January, but it seems that a deal may go ahead despite them.
The Syngenta deal could be part of Chinese government efforts to improve the productivity of its farms as part of a drive to reduce reliance on imported food. Beijing is having to deal with limited farmland, a growing population and increased meat consumption.
One potential stumbling block could be gaining approval from European anti-trust authorities and the Swiss government. Such a massive Chinese move into Europe might be met with opposition in some quarters.
Chinese companies have previously bought out U.S.- and Canada-based companies, meeting considerable opposition. However European authorities might decide that it is willing to receive money from a country that needs to invest “hot money” overseas, with a big merger an ideal way of doing so.