Hong Kong: China’s state-owned ChemChina is nearing a deal to buy Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta for around 43 billion Swiss francs ($42.2 billion), two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The deal, for roughly 470 Swiss francs per share, would be the biggest cross-border deal involving a Chinese buyer and mark an acceleration of a shakeup in the global agrochemicals industry.
It will likely be announced on Wednesday, when Syngenta is scheduled to release its 2015 results, the people said.
One source said minor adjustments to the price were still being discussed.
Syngenta’s shares jumped as much 8.4% and were 5.7% higher at 400 francs at 1352 GMT in Zurich.
ChemChina’s offer would be at a premium of about 24% to Syngenta’s Monday close of 378.40 francs.
Syngenta declined to comment. ChemChina was not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.
Bloomberg had reported earlier on Tuesday that the deal worth 43.7 billion Swiss francs was near.
Syngenta last year spurned takeover approaches from US seeds giant Monsanto, arguing it can create value on its own.
But as agricultural markets deteriorated and major rivals DuPont and Dow Chemical Co. agreed to combine their seeds and pesticides businesses, Syngenta chairman Michel Demare recently conceded that “going it alone is hardly possible", given what shareholders were expecting.
The likely takeover price would nominally match Monsanto’s revised cash-and-stock bid made last August but the value of that offer would have fallen along with Monsanto’s share price.
ChemChina’s move marks another instance of the country’s quest for Western technology and distribution networks.
Similar transactions include last year’s buyout of Italian tyre maker Pirelli by ChemChina. In January, ChemChina announced the acquisition of German industrial machinery maker KraussMaffei Group for about $1 billion.
The Chinese government is keen to boost farming productivity as it seeks to cut reliance on food imports amid limited farm land, a growing population and higher meat consumption.
A group of Syngenta shareholders said last month it opposed selling the company to ChemChina and called for the ousting of the Swiss group’s leadership. Reuters