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CHEMCHINA FILES FOR U.S. ANTITRUST APPROVAL OF ITS SYNGENTA ACQUISITION
Bloomberg reports:

China National Chemical Corp. said it filed for U.S. antitrust approval with the Federal Trade Commission for its proposed $43 billion takeover of Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta AG.

ChemChina has submitted documentation required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and expects the U.S. antitrust process to be "on track," the company said in an e-mail. The FTC, which oversees merger reviews along with the Justice Department, generally has 30 days to clear the proposed tie-up or issue a second request, seeking more information and a longer review period. When it's a cash tender offer, the FTC has 15 days to review.

The proposed transaction already has been cleared by a U.S. national security panel and won antitrust approval in Australia, where there are overlapping products between Syngenta and ChemChina's Israeli-based generic agrochemical maker Adama.

Syngenta Chairman Michel Demare said this week he expects only a "few" concessions will be needed to get regulatory approval for ChemChina's acquisition.

"The overlap is extremely small," Demare said in a Bloomberg interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "There's a few market concessions that will have to be made but nothing that will fundamentally change the business model of Syngenta."

Moving Ahead

The filing shows the companies are moving ahead with the deal, people with knowledge of the matter said, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. The transaction has faced delays as competition authorities, concerned the acquisition might raise prices or reduce choice for crop-protection products sold to farmers, requested more information from the companies.

Syngenta shares rose as much as 2 percent on Friday, and were up 1.5 percent at 1:51 p.m. in Switzerland, valuing the company at almost 40 billion Swiss francs ($39.6 billion). A spokesman for the Swiss company on Friday confirmed the FTC filing, saying both companies remain fully committed to the transaction and are confident of its closing.

The EU antitrust review has been extended until April 12 to allow sufficient time to discuss remedy proposals that have been submitted. The transaction, announced last year, is one of a trio of mega-deals reshaping the global agrochemicals industry. Regulators are concerned that the industry is already a very concentrated sector and that farmers need to have a choice of seeds and crop-protection products, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said earlier this month.


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