Chinese chemicals conglomerate ChemChina is moving quickly to secure its $43bn deal to purchase Syngenta, announcing the end of its main offer period for the Swiss agri-chemicals business only a day after it received pro-forma clearance from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
The offer period will end May 4, ChemChina said in an announcement on Thursday. That means the deal could be completed by the end of May.
The controversial deal, once closed, will be China’s largest-ever overseas acquisition. It has been promoted by agricultural modernizers as a chance for China to acquire valuable seed technology to help feed the world’s largest population, and vociferously opposed by a domestic anti-GMO camp that draws its support from environmentalists, leftists, the security apparatus and food safety advocates.
ChemChina has a bridge loan from HSBC but has disclosed few details of the final financing structure of the deal, which has significant support from state-owned conglomerate CITIC. Both ChemChina and Sinopec, its rival in the chemicals and agricultural sector, have denied that Beijing plans to merge them in order to digest the Syngenta acquisition.
The merger was approved by EU and US authorities in recent weeks and cleared MofCom on Wednesday, almost immediately after the application had been formally submitted, according to a report from influential financial magazine Caixin.
It is part of a broad consolidation of six global companies that produce pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and seeds into three.