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23 August, 2016 - 09:34 By Tony Quested

Chinese $43bn takeover of Syngenta wins key US approval

Syngenta, crop protection, cambridge

A record $43 billion takeover of crop protection business Syngenta, which has major operations in the Cambridge UK technology cluster, appears to be a done deal after the biggest obstacle was cleared.

The acquisition by China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) has been ratified by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The deal is being reported as the largest ever foreign takeover by a Chinese corporation. The US approval opens the door for competition authorities globally to also give the green light.

The Swiss agribusiness’ share price rose 12 per cent on the news as around 25 per cent of Syngenta’s sales are in North America.

It has taken six months to win the backing of the CFIUS, which probes the national security implications of such deals. The original bid was tabled in February.

Syngenta employs 106 people at its Cambridge research hothouse at Capital Park in Fulbourn. ChemChina made its move for the business when Monsanta, which also has significant operations in Cambridge – at Cambourne Business Park – courted Syngenta investors with a $46bn cash and stock offer, which melted away in August 2015.

Syngenta said at the time of the Monsanta bid that it was talking to a number of parties about a possible takeover and ChemChina had already flexed its financial muscle in the sector – including via a $1bn acquisition of German equipment maker KraussMaffei Group.

Syngenta’s mantra is to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources.

Its 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. Syngenta says it is also committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalising rural communities.

First half sales of $7.1bn were posted in July with new product sales significantly increased.

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