China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 billion) as the state-backed company extends its buying spree with what would be the biggest-ever acquisition by a Chinese firm, according to a report on Bloomberg.com.
ChemChina, as the state-owned company is known, offered about 470 francs a share in cash and a deal could be announced as early as Wednesday when the Swiss company reports earnings, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. That’s 24% higher than Syngenta’s last close of 378.40 francs on February 1. Its shares rose 3.7% to close at 392.3 francs in Zurich.
The deal would help Chairman Ren Jianxin transform ChemChina into the world’s biggest supplier of pesticides and agrochemicals, while snatching an asset coveted by St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. It also underscores the importance China attaches to owning seed and crop care technology that can boost agricultural output and help feed the world’s biggest population.
Representatives for ChemChina and Syngenta declined to comment. Final talks are ongoing and could still fall apart or be delayed, the people said.