Update February 2: It looks like a buy out of Syngenta (SYT) is on again. Bloomberg is reporting that China National Chemical, a state-owned enterprise, will announce a formal bid for the Swiss seed and agricultural chemical maker as early as tomorrow. The price Bloomberg is reporting would be $42 billion in an all cash offer. Syngenta has been a member of my of my Jubak Picks portfolio since December 10, 2015. I purchased the shares at $78.48, essentially flat with today’s close of $78.57. (The New York traded ADRs closed up 6.2% today, February 2.) The bid would work out to a price of $94 a share, slightly below the $96 target I put on the shares back in December and a 19.8% gain from the February 1 close. (I’m lowering the target price to $94 as of this post.) Syngenta is due to report earnings on Wednesday and the numbers are likely to reflect tough times for producers of agricultural chemicals. The Wall Street consensus is looking for revenue to drop 11% year over year. I don’t think we’re likely to see someone else, such as Monsanto (MON), try to top the bid from China National Chemical. First, it’s all cash. Monsanto’s previous bid relied on a mixture of cash and stock and with stocks in the agricultural sector down, any competitor would have to match the current all cash price. Second, China National Chemical is able to draw on deep government pockets to finance this deal. It’s not clear that U.S. or other developed market banks would be willing to step up to finance competing bid. At $42 billion the offer is hard to justify on purely market fundamentals but for China, a chance to advance its seed and agricultural chemical technology and security make paying the price worth it.
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