DuPont "must sell off insecticides and herbicides" for Dow merger, says EU

The EU has approved the $130billion merger between agrochemical giants Dow and DuPont on condition that they sell part of their businesses.

Vestager - image: Friends of Europe (CC BY 2.0)
Vestager - image: Friends of Europe (CC BY 2.0)

Approval for the merger, which the companies first announced in December 2015, requires DuPont to sell off its cereal broadleaf herbicides and chewing insecticides portfolios, as well as its crop protection research and development division, excluding seed treatment, nematicides, and late-stage R&D programmes.

The intention is then for the unified company to be split into three independent publicly traded companies.

The agriculture division of the merged company "will retain strong crop protection assets, including an excellent portfolio in corn and soy broadleaf and grass control, a robust cereal weed control portfolio, DuPont's strong position in disease control, and Dow AgroSciences' industry leading insecticide portfolio", a joint statement from the two companies said.

It added: "The agriculture division will be well positioned to accelerate growth, leveraging strong pipelines in both seeds and chemistry to better serve growers around the world with a superior portfolio of innovative solutions, greater choice, and competitive price for value."

The EU's competition policy commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "Our decision ensures that the merger between Dow and DuPont does not reduce price competition for existing pesticides or innovation for safer and better products in the future.

"We need effective competition in this sector so companies are pushed to develop products that are ever safer for people and better for the environment."

But a letter to the Commission signed by over 200 environmental and social groups said the merger, along with those proposed betwen Monsanto and Bayer, and Syngenta with ChemChina, "would exacerbate the problems caused by industrial farming, with negative consequences for the public, farmers and farm workers, consumers, the environment, and food security".

The deal still has to be approved by regulators in the United States, Brazil, China, Australia and Canada.

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