Syngenta sees ChemChina takeover closing in second quarter
Swiss pesticides and seeds group expects US$43 billion takeover by Chinese giant to be finalized this year, as progress is made in regulatory approvals
Swiss pesticides and seeds group Syngenta expects its US$43 billion takeover by ChemChina to close in the second quarter of 2017 as it makes progress in winning regulatory approval for the deal, it said on Wednesday.
The transaction is important for China, the world’s largest agricultural market, which is seeking to secure the food supply for its huge population.
Syngenta’s portfolio of top-tier chemicals and patent-protected seeds would boost its potential output.
“ChemChina and Syngenta have made significant progress towards achieving the necessary regulatory approvals and closing the transaction,” Syngenta said in announcing 2016 results, noting it had won approvals from 13 regulatory authorities.
It was awaiting approvals from Brazil, Canada, China, the EU, India, Mexico and the United States.
“ChemChina and Syngenta remain fully committed to the transaction and are confident of its closure,” it said.
Chief Executive Erik Fyrwald said he was confident the deal would win approval from China’s Ministry of Commerce regulator without causing any delay. The deal was making good progress with US and EU regulators as well, he said.
ChemChina is set to secure conditional EU antitrust approval for its bid, the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company, two people familiar with the matter said last week.
Bridge financing to close the deal was in place and irrevocable, finance chief Mark Patrick said, while the partners were working on the structure of longer-term financing.
Syngenta said it planned to push its annual meeting to June given that it was close to completing the deal.
“With the first settlement of the transaction expected to take place before the AGM, there will not be a proposal for payment of a regular dividend. As previously communicated, a special dividend of 5.00 Swiss francs will be paid conditional upon and prior to the first settlement of the transaction,” it said.
Syngenta reported 2016 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of US$2.66 billion on sales of US$12.79 billion.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected ebitda to fall 5.9% to US$2.61 billion on sales down 4.2% to US$12.85 billion. They had expected it to boost its dividend to 11.60 Swiss francs from 11.00.