EU investigates Syngenta-Monsanto sunflower deal
Jun. 23, 2010
Syngenta AG, the worlds biggest maker of agriculture chemicals, faces an in-depth investigation from the European Union over its plan to buy Monsanto Co.s hybrid sunflower-seed business.
The European Commission said in an e-mailed statement today it will rule on the transaction by Oct. 26.
"The sunflower-seed industry has undergone important consolidation over the past years and the commission needs to ensure that effective competition is preserved, to maintain innovation and prevent that input prices for farmers rise," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said, according to the statement.
Syngentas sunflower-seed business is the global market leader with sales of more than $200 million in 2008. The deal includes germplasm, and development and breeding of hybrid sunflower seeds.
Almunia said the initial investigation "indicated potential competition concerns with respect to the breeding and commercialisation of sunflower seeds and sunflower-seed treatment products in Europe."
Sunflower oil is low in saturated fats and is mostly used in food applications. Globally, sunflowers are grown on about 24 million hectares, Syngenta has said. Major sunflower producing countries are Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, France and Central Europe.
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