China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) announced on 3 February that it had officially made a bid of US$43bn for Swiss pesticide and seeds producer Syngenta AG in a move to secure future food supplies.

The deal would be the biggest ever foreign purchase by a Chinese company.

Global Ag Investing said that in the conditions of the deal, state-owned ChemChina would retain Syngenta’s management team and ChemChina chairman Ren Jianxin would lead the 10-person board, which will include four Syngenta members. There are also deal break-up fees of US$3bn for ChemChina and US$1.5bn for Syngenta.

The deal is scheduled to close by the end of the year.

Syngenta is the world’s biggest pesticide producer and has one of the largest seed portfolios, including 6,800 varieties of its own proprietary genetics.

Bloomberg said the deal would give it the power to take on rivals such as Monsanto, Dow Chemical and DuPont, which announced in December last year that they would merge.

China was the world’s second-biggest corn producer but its yields were 44% less than those in the USA.

Bloomberg said that the Chinese government was already laying the groundwork for the domestic growth of GMOs. A campaign was started in 2014 to increase public knowledge of biotechnology and combat any perceived risks.

Syngenta chairman Michel Demare told Reuters that ChemChina would be seeking out more deals in the future to further ensure China’s food security.