ChemChina looking to take over Syngenta

China National Chemical Corp. Chairman Ren Jianxin met with Syngenta AG in Europe last week as the Chinese chemical firm moves ahead with a takeover plan, after rivals Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. revealed plans to merge, according to people familiar with the matter. Syngenta’s shares jumped.

ChemChina is discussing a revised proposal to acquire the world’s largest pesticide maker, after its previous cash offer of 449 Swiss francs a share ($457) was deemed too low, the people said, asking not to be identified as the process isn’t public. No deal has been reached, and there is no guarantee that ChemChina will make a new offer, they said.

Even as negotiations with the Chinese company progress, Syngenta is also holding informal talks about a combination with U.S. peer Monsanto Co., almost four months after rebuffing the company’s $46.6 billion takeover proposal, two of the people said. Monsanto is discussing internally the merits of a new offer, as well as opportunities to acquire crop-chemical assets from other companies, Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann told reporters last month.

Syngenta would provide a route to market for Chinese agrochemical exports and increase the “sophistication” of agrochemicals in the domestic market, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a report published Tuesday. Antitrust issues would be “modest” with some overlap in fungicide markets in the Americas and insecticide in Europe, and may require the company to divest businesses with $300 million to $400 million in revenue, the report said.

“We find it hard to envisage a scenario whereby Syngenta doesn’t feature in an environment of consolidation, in some form," the analysts said in the report.

Meanwhile, a group of Syngenta AG shareholders have increased pressure on the Swiss pesticide maker to talk to “all interested suitors”. The combined seeds business and crop-protection portfolio following the Dow and DuPont merger could threaten Syngenta’s core markets, the Alliance of Critical Syngenta Shareholders said in a statement on its website Tuesday.

“With that combined company executing its own integrated strategy, Syngenta must quickly find a path that allows it to compete and survive,” the Alliance said.

Source: Bloomberg

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