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Switzerland is welcoming ChemChina’s $43 billion takeover of Syngenta SA, the Alpine nation’s biggest-ever deal, with open arms.
The only continental European country to strike a free-trade agreement with China, Switzerland has long been an attractive hunting ground for companies from the Asian giant. Unlike the U.S., which has blocked Chinese deals and where the ChemChina’s Syngenta purchase may face regulatory hurdles, the Helvetian nation has seen a slew of Chinese buyers of Swiss companies in the last five years — from HNA buying airport services company Swissport to Baoshida taking over Swissmetal.
In the latest all-cash purchase, state-backed ChemChina, or China National Chemical Corp., won the Swiss over by pledging to keep Syngenta headquarters in Switzerland, a sticking point in discussions with previous suitor Monsanto Co., which eventually walked away from a deal last year. While ChemChina may face headwinds in North America, where Syngenta generated $3.6 billion in sales last year and has two units, the Swiss are supporting the transaction.
“The buyer is a rock-solid, well-positioned company, so this is a good deal,” Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said on Wednesday.
By Alice Baghdjian, Bloomberg.