Syngenta-ChemChina Deal Clears US and EU

06.04.2017 -

Within two days, one of the three mega mergers influencing in major part the agrochemicals sector moved two steps closer to becoming reality. On Apr. 4-5, the US Federal Trade Commission, followed by the European Commission, greenlighted ChemChina’s $43 billion acquisition of Switzerland’s Syngenta.

As a condition for US approval, ChemChina agreed to divest several products made by its Israel-based subsidiary Adama Agricultural Solutions, which focuses on generic versions of crop protection agents.  American Vanguard (AMVAC) is picking up all rights and assets to Adama's paraquat herbicide. The California company is also set to acquire Adama's business with abamectin, an insecticide used in citrus and nut production, as well as the chlorothalonil fungicide, used to protect peanuts and potatoes. Syngenta sells branded versions of all three products.

In exchange for EU approval, ChemChina will sell "a significant part" of its Adama unit’s crop protection business including fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and seed-treatment products, as well as divesting 29 of Adama’s generic pesticides under development and a part of Adama’s plant growth regulator for cereals, along with related assets and personnel.

Syngenta will also divest some of its own crop protectants, including fungicides and herbicides that the Swiss company – world’s largest player in this segment – said are not material to its business.

Announcing the deal’s clearance, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the “significant remedies” offered by ChemChina “fully address our competition concerns.”  The Chinese-Swiss deal affects the same types of markets as the Dow and DuPont transaction, but the two transitions are “quite different,” she said. As Adama is not active in the research and development of new crop protectants, the Commission did not have the same concerns about loss of competition among innovators as in the Dow-DuPont merger.

China’s largest cross-border acquisition is expected to close by the end of the second quarter. Approvals are still out in China, India and Mexico. Reports said, however, that there are no significant overlaps in India. Chinese authorities are expected to easily nod off on the transaction.

Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald stressed that the Swiss agrochemicals giant will remain independent, though representatives of the new owner will take seats on its supervisory board.