Swiss seed and pesticide giant Syngenta AG said its planned acquisition by China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) was expected to be delayed until the first quarter of 2017, Reuters reported on 25 October.

The US$43bn takeover by ChemChina was originally forecast to close this year.

"In a context of industry consolidation, regulators in the EU and elsewhere have recently requested a large amount of additional information and we now expect the regulatory process to extend into the first quarter of 2017," chief executive Erik Fyrwald said in a statement.

"ChemChina and Syngenta remain fully committed to the transaction and are confident of its closure."

Fyrwald said in the Reuters report that a swamped European Commission had not had a chance to provide substantive feedback and he expected the anti-trust watchdog to take its regulatory review to a second phase once the 28 October deadline for fast-track approval passed.

"I think it is likely and we are expecting it, but it is not certain," he said, adding that he expected the deal to close around the end of the first quarter next year.

The merger is one of three in the biotech and pesticides market currently under review. German chemicals leader Bayer AG announced its US$66bn purchase of the seeds giant Monsanto on 14 September, and US chemical leaders Dow Chemical Co and DuPont Co announced their merger on 11 December.

Consolidation of the ‘Big 6’ companies currently controlling the global marketplace for pesticides and crop biotechnology – BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical Company, DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta – could lead to only three large companies controlling this market.