Dow Chemical and DuPont face a “still very open” outcome from a European Union antitrust review of their $60 billion merger, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said as the companies met with regulators to defend the deal.
Regulators are concerned that the agrochemical industry is already “a very concentrated sector” and that farmers need to have a choice of seeds and crop-protection products, Vestager told Bloomberg TV in an interview Monday. The EU is also examining China National Chemical’s bid for Syngenta AG, which Vestager said was a “very different deal” that also showed the importance of research to develop new products.
“Farmers need innovation as well in these products and that would be something that we will be discussing with the companies moving forward,” Vestager said.
Both deals passed milestones in their EU reviews on Monday, with ChemChina and Syngenta submitting concessions to regulators for the first time. Dow and DuPont defended themselves against EU objections at a closed-door hearing in Brussels attended by BASF SE representatives and trade groups for farmers and the biotechnology industry. Regulators will now give feedback on any remaining concerns, and then the companies can offer concessions to allay any issues.
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