US Clears Dow-DuPont Merger

19.06.2017 -

The final go-ahead for the long planned $130 million merger of US chemical giants Dow and DuPont appeared all but assured on Jun. 15 as US antitrust authorities gave the green for the deal.

Solely the approval of Canada and Mexico is outstanding.  Australian authorities last week said they no longer had any objections to the fusion after the EU and the US had agreed divestments. The US divestment mandate closely matched that of the EU, which gave its approval on Mar. 27. China and Brazil have also nodded off on the deal.

In the US, the National Farmers Union said farmers would face higher costs due to the merger. Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, termed the antitrust approval "deeply disappointing.  Clearly,” Johnson said in a statement, “the Trump administration is content allowing our country’s consolidation complex to continue."

However, the Justice Department, which together with the Federal Trade Commission, reviewed the merger plans, said the asset sales would prevent price hikes or lost innovation.

Assets to be divested include DuPont's Finesse herbicide for winter wheat and its Rynaxypyr insecticides, which according to the Justice Department have annual sales of more than $100 million in the US market.

Additionally, Dow has agreed to sell its US acid copolymers and ionomers business.

"As originally proposed, the merger would have eliminated important competition between Dow and DuPont in the development and sale of insecticides and herbicides vital to American farmers,” acting US assistant attorney general Andrew Finch said in a statement.

Without the polymers divestment, Finch said, the merged company would have also gained a monopoly over ethylene derivatives used to manufacture food packaging and other products.

Following completion of the transaction, scheduled to become effective in August, the merged conglomerate plans – within a year – to split into three separate entities for agrochemicals, materials and specialty chemicals.