This morning, Syngenta and China’s National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) announced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the proposed acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina — the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company.

The companies say this represents a significant milestone in moving toward closing the transaction, which is now expected in the second quarter of 2017. The deal is still subject to anti-trust review by numerous regulatory around the world and other customary closing conditions. It was originally anticipated that the deal would close by end of 2016.

The proposed acquisition first received approval by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, an interdepartmental committee chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury that includes representatives of 16 U.S. government agencies such as State, Commerce, Defense and Homeland Security, in August 2016. The committee was tasked with reviewing the  acquisition for potential national security risks.

First announced Feb. 3, 2016, Michel Demaré, company chairman, maintains the deal is in the best interests of shareholders and all other stakeholders in Syngenta, “including our employees, our customers and our communities.”

ChemChina is a state-owned enterprise established by reorganizing the subsidiary companies under China’s former Ministry of the Chemical Industry. It is ranked 234th on the Fortune Global 500 and has more than 140,000 employees with 52,000 outside China. The company operates production and research and development bases in 150 countries and regions across the world and boasts a full-fledged marketing network.

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