I think buying shares of Syngenta (SYT in New York) is the best way to profit from the wild scramble the likely merger of Dow Chemical (DOW) and DuPont (DD) is going to set off in the global chemical, pesticide, and seed industry. But if you’re going to make this speculative trade do it fast. Syngenta shares were already up 7.8% today in New York on the news. There’s still lots more headroom on this one—Syngenta recently pulled the plug on a Monsanto (MON) acquisition off at 470 Swiss francs and today the stock was priced at 379 franc and I expect any new deal would go for more than that last Monsanto offer—but I expect the stock will run up quickly once as the talks between Dow and DuPont progress. (The two companies have confirmed that they are in talks.)
A combination of Dow and DuPont would create the world’s second biggest chemical company (behind BASF of Germany) and the largest seed and pesticide company in the world. It’s that second point that’s most germane to Monsanto. The combination would put pressure on Monsanto to defend its rank as the biggest seed company in the world.
The combination would also put pressure on Syngenta, which might make the company more willing to hook up with Monsanto. The combined U.S. companies would sell about 16% of the world’s pesticides and would be the third largest global supplier of agricultural chemicals. And it would result in a stronger competitor in the North and South American seed and farm chemicals business for European players such as Syngenta.
I think the bidding for Syngenta could go as high as 485 Swiss francs or $98 for the U.S. ADRs, which each represents 1/5 of a Swiss share. I’m adding these New York traded ADRs to my Jubak’s Picks portfolio with a target price of $96.