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Syngenta formally accepts ChemChina’s takeover offer

The deal has been in the works since February 2016

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Syngenta shareholders formally accepted state-owned ChemChina's $43 billion takeover.

About 80.7 percent of shares were offered in the deal, aboce the 67 percent needed for approval, according to a joint statement on May 5.

The deal, which has been under negotiation since February 2016, is China’s attempt to improve its agricultural output by using Syngenta’s portfolio of seeds and disease management products.

Syngenta executives say, with the deal behind them, the focus can return to farmers and the environment.

“Every day, 28,00 Syngenta employees work very, very hard to help farmers feed the world and do so in a sustainable way for the environment,” Erik Fyrwald, Syngenta CEO, told CNBC. In the future, Syngenta will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, he said.

Despite ChemChina being a state-owned company, “Syngenta will stay Syngenta,” Fyrwald told CNBC.

But one obstacle Syngenta must manage is China’s stance on GMOs.

Beijing, China’s largest grain-producing province, has banned growing, processing and selling GMO seeds for five years, with the exception of cotton and papaya, according to a December 2016 Financial Times article.

Syngenta is confident their products can meet the requirements in China.

Syngenta will bring “modern-day technology across the Chinese agriculture industry,” Frywald told CNBC. “That’ll include GMOs over time, but today it’s the leading-edge crop protection products and leading-edge non-GMO seeds. We have lots of technology to bring today and lots more that we’ll bring in the future to China.”

The first settlement of the deal is scheduled for May 18 and the second is scheduled for June 7.


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