Syngenta exits canola business, rumoured to eye Bayer assets
June 27, 2017
Swiss pesticide and seeds maker Syngenta has put its canola seed portfolio up for sale as it plans to exit the canola business by next year.
The company – which is being acquired by the China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) – would continue servicing its canola portfolio, launched only four years ago in 2013, for the rest of 2017, according to the Western Producer on 22 June.
Chris Davison, head of corporate affairs for Canada at Syngenta, refused to elaborate on the reasons behind the move to leave the canola business.
“There are multiple factors involved for sure. That is a business decision based on consideration of a number factors related to the current canola seed market in Canada,” he told the Western Producer.
“We look at that holistically, where the market is today and where it may be going in the future.”
But Syngenta may be eyeing other possibilities in the canola and seeds sector, as the company had reportedly submitted a bid for the assets that the German chemical and pharma company Bayer is divesting to receive approval for its US$66M takeover of Monsanto.
According to Bloomberg, Syngenta and another German chemical firm BASF were among the bidders to purchase Bayer’s businesses, which included canola, cottonseed, the LibertyLink herbicide-resistant trait and its glufosinate herbicide.
Bloomberg quoted “people familiar with the matter” in saying that the total cost of the divested Bayer assets would be between US$2.5bn and US$3bn.
While none of the companies provided comments on the matter, BASF and Syngenta executives in March expressed possible interest in bidding for Bayer’s businesses, although the Bloomberg sources said no final decisions on the bids had yet been made.
Syngenta’s Davison said the company’s decision to exit the canola business was unrelated to Bayer’s asset sale.
The Western Producer quoted Kepler Chauvex investment analyst Christian Faiz – who previously accurately predicted that Bayer would have to sell its LibertyLink business to acquire approval for the Monsanto merger – in saying that BASF was the “logical buyer” of the Bayer assets.
“Since all other market participants will either be busy with their own deals or too small and with a different focus, BASF is likely to be one of the only bidders around,” Faiz said.
BASF is the only one of the major global agrichem companies not currently involved in a merger deal.