World Economy

ChemChina Cleared for Syngenta Acquisition

ChemChina Cleared for Syngenta AcquisitionChemChina Cleared for Syngenta Acquisition

China National Chemical Corp. received approval from US national security officials for its takeover of Swiss agrochemical and seeds company Syngenta AG, seen as the biggest regulatory hurdle that the $43 billion acquisition faces.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US has cleared the transaction, the companies said in a statement on Monday. The deal, expected to be completed by the end of the year, is still subject to antitrust review by regulators worldwide, according to the statement, Bloomberg reported.

“The CFIUS approval removes a major potential hurdle and should come as a relief to Syngenta shareholders,” Christian Faitz, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux, said in a note.

Shares of Syngenta jumped as much as 12%. Since announcing the deal in February, the stock has traded below ChemChina’s bid price amid investor concerns that regulators in the US might block the deal. The takeover is leading a record wave of Chinese acquisitions that has prompted US officials to consider claims that some purchases could threaten national security.

Syngenta, which got more than a quarter of revenue last year from seeds and crop protection in North America, would help transform state-owned ChemChina into a global pesticide and agrochemical giant.

ChemChina is proposing to pay $465 a share plus a five Swiss franc special dividend for Syngenta. At current exchange rates, the offer had been equal to about 451.87 francs a share versus the Aug. 19’s close of 380.80 francs, according to Kepler’s Faitz. Stock of the Basel-based company traded 11% higher at 422.4 francs in Zurich.

The deal has come at a time when other major players in the agrochemical and seeds industry plan to merge, or are holding talks. Dow Chemical Co. is combining with DuPont Co., and Bayer AG is targeting genetically-modified seeds maker Monsanto Co. Only BASF SE has remained on the sidelines of the consolidation wave.