ChemChina offers $43B for Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta

HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese state-owned chemical maker offered to buy Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta for $43 billion in what would be the biggest foreign acquisition ever by a Chinese company. Syngenta AG said Wednesday its board is recommending shareholders accept the offer from China National...

HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese state-owned chemical maker offered to buy Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta for $43 billion in what would be the biggest foreign acquisition ever by a Chinese company.

Syngenta AG said Wednesday its board is recommending shareholders accept the offer from China National Chemical Corp., also known as ChemChina. Basel-based Syngenta said in a statement that ChemChina's cash offer is worth the equivalent of 480 francs ($482) a share.

The deal is part of a global acquisition spree by Chinese companies, which are diversifying abroad to counter a slowdown at home. Last month Chinese home appliance maker Haier Group bought General Electric's home appliance business while conglomerate Wanda Group acquired Hollywood movie studio Legendary Entertainment.

The Syngenta deal, if completed, would overtake CNOOC's 2012 purchase of Canadian energy company Nexen as the biggest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company.

Beijing-based ChemChina will keep existing management in place following the deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

"The transaction minimizes operational disruption," Syngenta Chairman Michael Demaré said. "It is focused on growth globally, specifically in China and other emerging markets, and enables long-term investment in innovation."

Last month, ChemChina bought German machinery maker KraussMaffei for about $1 billion and took a 12 percent stake in Swiss energy trader Mercuria. In March it bought Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli.

The Syngenta deal is also part of a shake-up of the global agricultural and chemical industry, which is being pressured by tumbling commodity prices that are forcing farmers to spend less on seeds, pesticides and equipment.

Sygenta agreed to the takeover bid after spurning a $46.5 billion offer from agricultural giant Monsanto.

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