The Strategist

US regulators approved ChemChina-Syngenta deal

08/22/2016 - 14:25

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved a proposition of China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) to buy Swiss chemical company Syngenta AG.

Michael Trolove
Michael Trolove
In February, ChemChina agreed to buy Swiss Syngenta at $ 465 per common share. By that time, total sum reached more than $ 43 billion. The deal may become the largest foreign takeover made by a Chinese company.

"ChemChina and Syngenta today announced that the companies received permission for their proposed transaction from The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)", - stated in the companies’ joint statement.

It is also noted the acquisition still has to get approval if many other regulatory bodies around the world.

"Both companies are working closely with the regulatory authorities, and discussions are constructive," - said Syngenta and ChemChina.

It is expected that the deal will be sealed by the end of this year.

Earlier, HemChina made a bid for Swiss manufacturer of crop protection products and seeds Syngenta for $ 43.2 billion. ChemChina was willing to pay $ 465 per Syngenta’s share, plus a special dividend of 5 Swiss francs ($ 4.9). Thus, the premium in comparison with cost of the company's shares on a day before the announcement was 26%. According to Dealogic research company, if the deal goes through, it will be the largest foreign takeover committed by a Chinese company. Syngenta’s board of directors said they unanimously recommended shareholders approving the deal. 

Acquisition of Syngenta will help ChemChina expand its portfolio of agricultural chemistry. In addition, the transaction concerns the Chinese authorities, which want to boost performance of the country's agriculture. Syngenta is one of the world's largest manufacturers of various fertilizers. The company was established in 2000 through a merger of Novartis Agribusiness and AstraZeneca companies. The company's revenue in 2015 amounted to $ 13.4 billion; Syngenta employs around 28 thousand people in 90 countries. In August last year, biotech company Monsanto wanted to buy Syngenta for $ 47 billion, but the latter rejected the proposal, not least because of fears that the deal would have been banned by the regulators.

Acceptance of the current transaction has been facilitated by the fact that Syngenta will remain a separate company. If the deal goes through, the Syngenta will retain its name, the company will be headed by the former leadership, its headquarters will continue to be in Switzerland. As the chairman of the Board of Directors Syngenta Michel Demare commented, "with help of this transaction, Syngenta will be able to realize full potential of its own strategy, aided by an ambitious shareholder, who will invest in it. In addition, the deal will help us expand access to the Chinese market". However, until recently, the company kept fears that the deal would be blocked by regulators, primarily in the US since North America accounts for 27% of all sales of Syngenta.