ChemChina and SinoChem to Merge in 2018

  • (c) Arnd Rockseri/Stockphoto(c) Arnd Rockseri/Stockphoto

Chinese state enterprises ChemChina and Sinochem are planning to merge next year, creating the world’s largest chemicals group, business newspaper Financial Times (FT) has reported, citing several senior bankers in Asia.

Both companies and their leaders have repeatedly denied the merger plans. However, bankers close to the groups and their chief executives say the Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the government authority that controls the two firms, intends to combine them into one entity that would have total revenues of $100 billion.

Sources say the merger is politically driven and aimed at ensuring ChemChina has the financial strength to absorb Syngenta. Once the $43 billion purchase of the Swiss agrochemicals group is finalized, it will rank as China’s largest overseas acquisition. ChemChina has revealed few details about how it will fund the acquisition, which will be a mix of loans, equity and support from Chinese conglomerate Citic.

Both European and US antitrust authorities gave their approval to the ChemChina-Syngenta deal in April, but on condition of some asset sales. China also approved the takeover last month, with India’s clearance still outstanding.

ChemChina and Sinochem each have made a string of acquisitions since the end of 2015, according to the FT, which noted that Sinochem has completed deals worth $1.4 billion, with another $113 million offer pending, while ChemChina has spent $2.5 billion, not including its purchase of Syngenta.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the paper said ChemChina’s handling of the Syngenta purchase was received poorly by China’s top leadership. Although the merger fits with the country’s strategy to acquire foreign technology and improve its agricultural yields to feed its population of 1.4 billion, ChemChina’s chairman, Ren Jianxin, is said to have made enemies by initiating the deal without full clearance from the country’s decision makers.

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