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By Graciela Vizcay Gomez
Chinese state chemical giant ChemChina offered a record $ 43 billion for Swiss multinational specialized in agrochemicals Syngenta, whose board of directors "unanimously" approved the proposal, CNN Expansión reported.
The China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) is proposing $ 465 per nominal share, to which will be added a special dividend of five Swiss francs per share (almost $ 5).
"The proposed transaction respects the interests of all parties," the Swiss firm, based in the city of Basel, said in the statement.
A statement confirming the Zurich Stock Exchange, where Syngenta's stock rose more than 5% at 08:00 Central Mexico time.
Last year, Syngenta had rejected a $ 47 billion takeover bid by US rival Monsanto, which could now study a counteroffensive.
ChemChina, a gigantic conglomerate whose management depends directly on the Chinese central government, carries out a policy of strong international expansion.
In 2015, it took control of the Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli, in an operation valued at 7.4 billion euros, and recently announced the acquisition of Kraussmaffei, an emblematic German manufacturer of machine tools for the plastics industry, for 925 million euros. euros (1,001 million dollars).
In its quest for diversification, ChemChina took a 12% stake in the capital of the Swiss brokerage firm Mercuria in January this year.
The Syngenta acquisition would make ChemChina one of the world's largest pesticide and agrochemical manufacturers, while reducing its dependence on petrochemical activities.
"With this offer, ChemChina recognizes the potential of Syngenta", underlined the president of Syngenta, Michel Demaré, who hopes that thanks to the agreement the Swiss group "will increase its presence in emerging markets, and particularly in China".
ChemChina will be able to enter the grain processing and marketing sector on its side.
Grain improvements and agricultural technologies are essential for the Chinese authorities, faced with the challenge of feeding a population of 1.3 billion people in a country where arable land is inexorably shrinking.
But the alliance has bigger ambitions. "Our vision is not limited to mutual interests, but will seek to serve the interests of farmers and consumers around the world," ChemChina Chairman Ren Jianxin was quoted as saying in the statement.
ChemChina's offering is well funded, according to Syngenta, and demonstrates a "genuine will" to secure the necessary regulatory clearances.
A reference to the authorizations that the merger must obtain in order to materialize, especially in the United States, one of Syngenta's main markets.
In 2005, the Chinese oil giant CNOOC had to give up a project to acquire the US group Unocal for 18.5 billion dollars, due to strong political opposition that the project generated in Washington.
ChemChina's proposal could be welcomed by shareholders as "it is entirely in cash," but it could raise political resistance, warned an analyst at German bank Baader.
The agreement provides for Syngenta's current management team to remain in office and maintain its headquarters in Basel, as well as the creation of a board of ten directors chaired by Ren Jianzin, the two companies' statements said.
It would be the largest Chinese acquisition of a foreign company, far ahead of the purchase in 2013, for 15.1 billion dollars, of the Canadian group Nexen by the oil company CNOOC.