Commission to probe Bayer buy

By FWi staff

GERMAN chemical giant Bayers Euro7.2bn (4.5bn) acquisition of Aventis Crop Science is to be investigated by the European Commission.

Brussels fears the deal may cut competition in crop protection products. Insecticides are the main concern, as both groups are strong in this field.

Serious doubts have also been raised over cereal, maize and sugar beet herbicides and several seed protection chemicals.

The proposed takeover, announced in October, would put Bayer in second place to Anglo-Swiss company Syngenta in the global agrochemicals market, with sales of Euro7bn (4.37bn).

The move is now subject to a four-month anti-trust inquiry, and the outcome may require Bayer to offload some of its brands.

But the company still expects to close the transaction by the end of the first quarter of 2002, as planned.

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