ChemChina closing in on Syngenta deal

The state-owned enterprise could be the latest Chinese company to enter into the global agriculture industry, after its failed takeover bid for the Swiss seed giant last year.

China’s largest chemicals company, ChemChina, could be closing a deal to buy Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta, according to the Financial Times.

Syngenta warded off a $42bn approach by the state-owned enterprise in November, followed by a $47 billion takeover bid by competitor Monsanto in December.

Last week Syngenta’s managing director Folke Rauscher and a group of Syngenta shareholders wrote to the Basler Zeitung newspaper in Switzerland, expressing alarm over the prospect of a takeover from a Chinese state-controlled company. The board, also under pressure to push up share value, was reported to have voted in favour of a takeover about two weeks ago.

In the last few years, China has shown an increasing interest in buying agribusinesses beyond its borders and financially reforming those within the country.

At the end of last year, a property broker at Property Connections Real Estate, Minor Taylor, told Agri Investor that some Chinese high net worth individuals were buying large tracts of Texas farmland locals thought too expensive. Meanwhile, Chinese grain and food giant Cofco has moved in to buy 100 percent of Noble Group’s agribusiness, buying up Noble’s remaining 49 percent stake for $750m. It also has a 51 percent share in Dutch grain business Nidera.

Chang Sun, formerly head of Warburg Pincus’ China and North Asia units, was also reported last year to be seeking $1 billion in commitments for a fund to invest in agribusinesses inside China.