The European Commission (EC) has set a new date of 6 February to complete its investigation into the proposed US$130bn merger of US chemical giants Dow Chemical Co and DuPont Co, reported Reuters on 3 October.

The probe was announced on 11 August to look into whether the merger would reduce competition in crop protection, seeds and certain chemicals (see Biotech News, OFI September/October 2016) but was halted a month later due to missing information.

EC spokesman Ricardo Cardoso confirmed in an email that the companies had now submitted important information requested by the EU competition enforcer, Reuters said.

Dow Chemical and DuPont said they remained confident of securing EU approval.

"We remain focused on working with the EC toward closing the transaction by year-end 2016. In the event that the Commission utilises the full allotted time, closing would be expected to occur in the early part of 2017, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of all regulatory approvals," the companies said in a statement.

The merger to create DowDuPont Inc was first announced on 11 December and would eventually see the new entity split into three by the end of 2018, creating separate companies focused on agriculture, specialty products and materials science.

Both companies supply GM seeds and crop protection products to the oils and fats industry.

DuPont Pioneer is a subsidiary of DuPont Co and a major producer of hybrid seeds for agriculture including GM crops with insect and herbicide resistance.

Dow AgroSciences is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co supplying seeds, biotech solutions and agricultural pesticides.

The seed and crop chemicals industries are undergoing rapid consolidation.

China National Chemical Corp's planned US$43bn takeover of Swiss seed giant Syngenta AG was announced on 3 February, while German chemicals giant Bayer AG announced its US$66bn purchase of the world’s biggest seeds company, Monsanto, on 14 September.