Syngenta and Dow in Talks with DuPont on Agribusiness Mergers

08.11.2015 -

The agrochemicals industry is on the brink of a new round of mergers and acquisitions, not seen since 2007, following the collapse of global agriculture prices. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing sources close to the matter, Syngenta is discussing a potential deal with DuPont’s Pioneer division. Separately, DuPont is discussing a deal with Dow’s AgroSciences division. Talks are at an early stage.

Dow announced last month that it was considering options for its agrochemicals subsidiary, focused on creating new synergies in a consolidating agricultural market. Last August, Syngenta rebuffed a third take-over attempt worth $47 billion by US rival Monsanto. Syngenta’s CEO Mike Mack quit on Oct 31 2015.

According to global investment firm Morgan Stanley, a combination of Syngenta and DuPont’s agriculture business would control about 27% of world pesticide sales. Analysts believe such a merger may require Syngenta to divest is US seeds business to smooth antitrust concerns, as DuPont currently controls 35% and 33% of the US corn-seed and soybean markets, respectively.

A merger of DuPont and Dow AgroSciences would control about 17% of the global pesticides market, becoming a close number three behind Syngenta and Bayer, said Morgan Stanley. Dow’s seeds business may also have to be divested if such a merger goes ahead.

The collapse in farm income follows a boom during most of the past decade as crop prices and land values soared as a result of drought and rising demand for corn from the ethanol industry and overseas buyers.

The US Department of Agriculture expects incomes to drop to $58.3 billion this year, down by 36% from 2014’s level of $91.1 billion and registering the largest percentage decline since 1983.