November 7, 2016
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina, particularly to determine if the purchase is in line with the EU Merger Regulation.
The EC will assess whether the deal will reduce competition in crop protection products and the supply of certain input chemicals. The proposed merger would combine Syngenta of Switzerland, one of the main global seeds and crop protection companies, and ChemChina of China, which controls Adama, the largest supplier of generic crop protection products in Europe.
The transaction would take place in an industry that is already relatively concentrated. "This deal would lead to the combination of a leading crop protection company with one of its main generic competitors. Therefore, we need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or a reduced choice for farmers", Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said.
The EC is to make a decision on or before March 15, 2017.
In February, ChemChina offered to buy its Swiss rival for more than US$43 billion in cash, and Syngenta's board of directors recommended approval of the sale. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved the merger on Aug. 22, after which ChemChina applied for acquisition approval of Syngenta with the EC a month later.