EU to Probe Syngenta-ChemChina Deal in Depth
The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation into ChemChina’s plan to acquire Swiss agrochemicals producer Syngenta for $43 billion. The EU regulatory agency said the probe will explore whether the combination of Syngenta’s pesticides with the generic alternatives produced by Adama Agricultural Solutions, an Israeli company controlled by ChemChina, presents competition concerns.
EU officials said they expect to complete their review by Mar. 15, 2017, about the same time the competition authority plans to make a decision on the planned merger of Dow and DuPont, which also partly impacts the agriculture sector. Simultaneously it will be looking at the proposed takeover of US seeds giant Monsanto by Germany’s Bayer. Regulatory authorities in the US, Canada, Brazil and Australia are also reviewing the deals.
According to the Commission, Syngenta and Adama have “strong overlapping portfolios” in crop protection products such as herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and plant growth regulators, markets that are already highly concentrated. “This deal would lead to the combination of a leading crop protection company with one of its main generic competitors.
Therefore we need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or a reduced choice for farmers," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Presenting company results in late October, Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald said regulatory approval of the Swiss company’s deal with ChemChina was likely to be delayed into the first quarter of 2017 as regulators seek more information. Due to what it said was a lack of information, the Commission in mid-October again halted its review of the Dow-DuPont merger plans.