BASEL, SWITZERLAND — China National Chemical (ChemChina), a Chinese state-owned chemical company, has offered more than $43 billion cash to buy its Swiss rival Syngenta.
According to news reports, this is the biggest foreign acquisition by a Chinese firm and will make ChemChina the world’s largest supplier of crop protection products.
ChemChina has offered to acquire the company at $465 per ordinary share plus a special dividend of CHF 5 to be paid conditional upon and prior to closing. The offer is equivalent to a Swiss franc value of CHF 480 per share. Syngenta shareholders will in addition receive the proposed ordinary dividend of CHF 11 in May, Syngenta said.
Syngenta’s board of directors is unanimously recommending the offer to shareholders. Syngenta’s existing management will continue to run the company.
After closing, which is expected by the end of the year, a 10-member board of directors will be chaired by Ren Jianxin, chairman of ChemChina, and will include four of the existing Syngenta board members. ChemChina is considering an IPO of the business in the years to come.
“In making this offer, ChemChina is recognizing the quality and potential of Syngenta’s business,” said Michel Demaré, chairman of Syngenta. “This includes industry-leading R&D and manufacturing and the quality of our people worldwide. The transaction minimizes operational disruption; it is focused on growth globally, specifically in China and other emerging markets, and enables long-term investment in innovation. Syngenta will remain Syngenta and will continue to be headquartered in Switzerland, reflecting this country’s attractiveness as a corporate location.”
Discussions between the two companies has been friendly, constructive and co-operative, Jianxin said.
“We will continue to work alongside the management and employees of Syngenta to maintain the company’s leading competitive edge in the global agricultural technology field,” he said. “Our vision is not confined to our mutual interests, but will also respond to and maximize the interests of farmers and consumers around the world. We look forward to Michel Demaré remaining on the board as vice-chairman and lead independent director, and to working with John Ramsay and the management and employees of Syngenta to deliver safe and reliable solutions for the continued growth in global food demand.”
This is the latest deal in the consolidation of the chemical and agribusiness sector. Dow Chemical and DuPont announced a $68.6 billion merger deal in December.
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.-based Monsanto made a $46 billion merger deal with Syngenta last year. Monsanto stepped away from the deal after Syngenta said it did not meet their financial expectations.
ChemChina has production, research and development, and marketing systems in 150 countries and regions. It is the largest chemical corporation in China, and occupies the 265th position among the Fortune 500. The company’s main businesses include materials science, life science, high-end manufacturing and basic chemicals, among others. Previously, ChemChina has successfully acquired nine industrial companies in France, the U.K., Israel, Italy and Germany.