DuPont CEO says he expects US approval ‘shortly’ for Dow merger

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DuPont, the US chemicals group, expects to receive approval from the US authorities “shortly” for its proposed $147bn merger with Dow Chemical, its chief executive has said.

Edward Breen, DuPont’s chief executive, said he did not know the exact schedule for the US Department of Justice to make a decision on the deal, but he expected the remaining regulatory approvals the company needs to be secured “rather quickly”.

He was speaking at DuPont’s announcement of a deal to sell a portion of its crop protection business to FMC, the US chemical manufacturer, to meet requirements raised by the European Commission to allow the deal to go through.

The merger has already received approvals in 10 jurisdictions, Mr Breen said, and because the sale of businesses to FMC affected global markets, he expected it would also meet the requirements of competition authorities in the remaining key jurisdictions, including the US and China.

The deal’s potential impact on competition in the markets for agricultural biotechnology, chemicals and seeds has been a focus for regulators. The original pan when the merger was first agreed in December 2015 was for it to be completed by the end of 2016, but that target has been pushed back several times as the deal has been scrutinised by competition authorities.

The most recent timetable had scheduled for it to close by the end of June, but that has now been put back slightly, with a new target of the end of August. Mr Breen said the delay was necessary to make sure all the regulatory processes in the EU and elsewhere had been completed.

The merged group is intended to be broken up into three more focused companies: one in seeds and crop protection, one in materials such as plastics, and one in speciality products and chemicals.

The plan is to complete that break-up within 18 months of the merger closing. DuPont and Dow said on Friday the materials company was scheduled to be the first business to be spun off.

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