(Yicai Global) Feb. 9 -- After speculation over antitrust concerns, state-owned China National Chemical Corporation's (ChemChina) USD43 billion acquisition of Swiss seed and pesticide producer, Syngenta [NYSE:SYT], is set to complete in the second quarter as the approval process smooths out, the Wall Street Journal cited the seed maker's chief executive, Erik Fyrwald, as saying.
Some 13 regulatory authorities have greenlit the acquisition, according to the company. The deal is still pending approvals from Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, the US and the EU. The European monopoly regulator has pledged to make a decision by April and is also reviewing two other industry deals between Dow Chemical [NYSE:DOW] and DuPont [NYSE:DD], and Bayer [FWB:BAYN] and Monsanto [NYSE:MON].
The deal is very important to China, analysts said. The country, which has the world's largest agricultural sector, needs to guarantee food supply for its huge population and will benefit from Syngenta's advanced agrochemical technology and patented seed products through increased domestic agricultural output.
The acquisition was originally proposed in February last year and was approved by the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States and 11 antitrust organizations in August after a lengthy review process. Unlike in the EU, where the deal met several setbacks, the firms expected a faster approval from the US as ChemChina's operating income there is much lower, and few of its products overlap with Syngenta's.
China has also protested the deal, according to China Business Journal. Last April, 400 non-governmental figures, including 92-year-old former chemical industry minister and former Central Party Committee member, Qin Zhongda, sent a petition to the country's State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission opposing the acquisition, saying it should not allow the spread of genetically modified products or the use of hazardous chemical pesticides.