ChemChina Makes Cash Offer to Purchase Syngenta
Basel, Switzerland-headquartered Syngenta announced on February 3 that ChemChina has offered to acquire the company for approximately US $43 billion, based on a fixed price of $465 per ordinary share plus a special dividend of CHF 5 to be paid conditional upon and prior to closing. Syngenta is a leading supplier of seeds for vegetables, fruits and other field crops, as well as crop protection chemicals ranging from herbicides and insecticides to fungicides.
The proposed deal 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 of 2016. It is planned to make a facility available for the conversion of US dollar sales proceeds into Swiss francs on closing, which is subject to anti-trust review and approvals.
The offer, described as the “boldest overseas takeover move” by a Chinese state-owned company to date in a Reuters dispatch, is seen as move to streamline the improvement of domestic food production. If the deal goes through, it will surpass CNOOC’s purchase of Canadian energy company Nexen as the largest acquisition of a foreign company.
The board of directors of Syngenta considers that the proposed transaction respects the interests of all stakeholders and is unanimously recommending the offer to shareholders. There is committed financing for the deal and a strong commitment to pursue regulatory clearances. A Swiss and US tender offer will commence in the coming weeks and the transaction is expected to conclude by the end of the year.
Syngenta’s existing management team will continue to run the company. After closing, a ten member board of directors will be chaired by Ren Jianxin, chairman of ChemChina, and will include four of the existing Syngenta board members. ChemChina says it is committed to maintaining the highest governance standards with a view to an IPO of the business in the years to come.
Michel Demaré, chairman of Syngenta, commented: “In making this offer, ChemChina is recognizing the quality and potential of Syngenta’s business. 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.”
John Ramsay, chief executive officer, said: “Syngenta is the world leader in crop protection, having significantly increased its global market share over the last ten years. This deal will enable us to maintain and expand this position, while at the same time significantly increasing the potential for our seeds business. It will ensure continuing choice for growers and ongoing R&D investment across technology platforms and across crops. Our commitment to cost and capital efficiency will remain unchanged.”
Ren Jianxin, chairman of ChemChina, remarked: “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. 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.”
The deal will enable further expansion of Syngenta’s presence in emerging markets and notably in China. In addition to its array of modern chemistry, Syngenta will contribute its experience and know-how in promoting the highest environmental standards and in nurturing thriving rural communities. These objectives are reflected in the commitments contained in The Good Growth Plan, which have been explicitly endorsed by ChemChina and which – together with the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture – will continue to form an integral part of the company’s strategy.
Syngenta is a leading agriculture company engaged in improving global food security by assisting millions of farmers in making better use of available resources. Its 28,000 employees in over 90 countries work to transform how crops are grown and are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities.
ChemChina, headquartered in Beijing, possesses production, R&D and marketing systems in 150 countries and regions. It is the largest chemical corporation in China, and is ranked 265th among Fortune 500 companies. Its main businesses include materials science, life science, high-end manufacturing and basic chemicals, among others. Previously, ChemChina has acquired nine industrial companies in France, the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy and Germany and elsewhere.