China National Chemical Corp. sought European Union approval for its $43 billion takeover of Syngenta AG, one of a trio of mega-deals reshaping the global agrichemicals industry already described as “quite concentrated” by the bloc’s antitrust chief.
The European Commission set an initial Oct. 28 deadline to rule on the deal, according to a website filing on Monday.
ChemChina agreed to buy Syngenta earlier this year in a deal that would transform it into the world’s largest supplier of pesticides and agrochemicals. It is the biggest foreign acquisition for a Chinese firm. ChemChina, which is state owned, received approval from U.S. national security officials for the takeover last month.
The deal is the second of three tie-ups between companies that sell seeds and chemicals to farmers across the world. EU regulators opened an in-depth probe into a Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. merger last month and suspended the deadline earlier this month to seek missing data. EU lawmakers and environmental campaigners have been been calling on EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to block Bayer AG’s bid for Monsanto Co.
Vestager told reporters last week that the agriculture input market is already dominated by a small number of firms and less competition for farmers risks leading to higher prices and less choice for food. She’s also cited concerns about concentration in research and development, especially for plant protection products.
The deal wasn’t granted a fast-track procedure that can allow a quick and unconditional clearance. Regulators can choose to open a longer investigation if they see potential competition problems. Companies may avoid an extended probe by offering concessions in the initial phase of the review.