ChemChina wins U.S. approval for Syngenta takeoverChemChina wins U.S. approval for Syngenta takeover
FTC requires Syngenta to divest three types of pesticides to avoid anti-competitive issues.
April 5, 2017
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has given its stamp of approval for China National Chemical Corp.'s (ChemChina) $43 billion purchase of Swiss global agricultural company Syngenta AG. The approval brings the merger one step closer to the finish line, which is anticipated by late June.
The two companies have agreed to divest three types of pesticides so that the proposed merger would not harm competition in several U.S. markets.
According to a complaint filed by FTC, the merger, as originally proposed, is likely to cause significant competitive harm in the U.S. markets for three pesticides:
* The herbicide paraquat, which is used to clear fields prior to the growing season;
* The insecticide abamectin, which protects primarily citrus and tree nut crops by killing mites, psyllid and leafminers, and
* The fungicide chlorothalonil, which is used mainly to protect peanuts and potatoes.
Syngenta owns the branded version of each of the three products at issue, giving it significant market shares in the U.S. ChemChina subsidiary ADAMA focuses on generic pesticides and is either the first- or second-largest generic supplier in the U.S. for each of these products.
FTC alleges that without the proposed divestiture, the merger would eliminate the direct competition that exists today between ChemChina generics subsidiary ADAMA and Syngenta’s branded products. The merger would also increase the likelihood that U.S. customers buying paraquat, abamectin and chlorothalonil would be forced to pay higher prices or accept reduced service for these products, the complaint states.
The proposed settlement requires ChemChina to sell all rights and assets of ADAMA’s U.S. paraquat, abamectin and chlorothalonil crop protection businesses to California-based agrochemical company AMVAC.
Both the U.S. and the European Union took a close look at the deal, with the European Commission opening its own investigation last year. It found that the transaction might lead to higher prices and reduced choice for crop protection products sold to farmers. The EU has an April 18 deadline to end its review.
The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning April 4 and continuing through May 4, 2017, after which FTC will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.
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