Agrochem Mergers

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Size Doesn’t Matter

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Several giant mergers are going ahead in the agrochemicals sector, despite strong opposition from some quarters. Antitrust authorities appear to be placing more importance on the potential impact on innovation when making decisions.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • On March 27, E.U. authorities cleared the merger of the two U.S. giants, Dow Chemical and Dupont. Together they will create a new global market leader with a $17 billion turnover.
    • On April 5, the U.S.’ Federal Trade Commission gave the go ahead for ChemChina to buy Switzerland’s Syngenta under various conditions. The E.U. has yet to decide on this deal.
    • Last summer, German agricultural and pharmaceuticals giant, Bayer, bid $66 billion for the American seed manufacturer Monsanto. The deal has yet to be approved by regulators in both the U.S. and Europe.
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Germany Bayer Monsanto
Bayer-Monsanto deal: Brussels watchdogs are taking a new approach to these major mergers and it looks good for the deal. Source: AP

In spring of 2016, there was alarm in the agrochemical sector. Three of the largest corporations in the industry had all laid plans on the table for major mergers. With only six large suppliers, the plant protection product and seed production industry was already highly concentrated. At the end of the new wave of mergers, there would only be four large suppliers.

Environmentalists and consumers railed against the plans. Competition experts warned of the monopolized market about to be created. Investors had their doubts too, more or less convinced that neither the E.U.’s antitrust authorities or the U.S.’ antitrust authorities would tolerate these mega mergers.

A year later, it looks like the opposite is true. E.U. authorities recently gave the green light to the merger of the two U.S. chemical companies, Dow Chemical and Dupont. Together, the two create a new global market leader with a $17 billion turnover. Although a decision by U.S. antitrust authorities is still pending, they are not expected to stand in the way either.

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