China’s largest chemical business has launched a bid worth almost £30bn for Syngenta.
State-owned ChemChina is highly acquisitive and has bought or taken a significant stake in nine European industrial companies in recent years, including agrochemical manufacturer Adama (formerly Makhteshim Agan).
It had income of £31.25bn in 2015 and has more than 140,000 employees, 48,000 of these outside China.
Syngenta’s board is unanimously recommending that shareholders accept the bid which, provided regulatory hurdles are cleared, is expected to complete by the end of this year.
See also: Monsanto drops hostile bid for Syngenta
Syngenta’s existing management will continue to run the company but completion would see ChemChina’s chairman also become chairman of Syngenta, with four of the existing Syngenta board members remaining.
The bid for Syngenta marks another huge acquisition of agricultural market interests by Chinese state owned companies. State grain trader Cofco took a controlling stake in Dutch global grain trader Nidera in 2014.
China’s many other agricultural investments include large stakes in US meat processing companies and controversial Australian farmland purchases.
Syngenta’s accounts for 2015, published today, show sales down 11% on 2014, at US $13,411 (£9,579bn).
“Over the last two years we have been dealing not only with low crop prices but also with emerging market instability and massive movements in currencies,” said chief executive officer John Ramsay.
Syngenta was formed in 2000 through the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals. It employs 28,000 people in more than 90 countries and rejected several takeover bids from Monsanto last year.