Tuesday, June 6

Seed Giant Syngenta Moving Forward With Shanghai IPO, Sources Say

Syngenta Group is preparing to move forward with plans for its initial public offering, less than two months after the Shanghai stock exchange abruptly canceled the firm’s hearing to join the Nasdaq-like Star board.

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(Bloomberg) — Syngenta Group is preparing to move forward with plans for its initial public offering, less than two months after the Shanghai stock exchange abruptly canceled the firm’s hearing to join the Nasdaq-like Star board.

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The Chinese-owned seed giant has withdrawn its Star board IPO application and will immediately apply for a listing on the main board in Shanghai, according to a statement on Thursday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report.

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The switch came after China expanded a registration-based system for listings on all exchanges beyond the Star board earlier this year, in a bid to accelerate access to funding in the nation’s $10.5 trillion equity market. The move shortened the review period, as the exchanges became responsible for vetting the eligibility of IPO candidates.

Syngenta “fits better on the main board of Shanghai stock exchange, under its latest registration-based IPO scheme,” it said in the statement. “This main board listing will enable Syngenta Group to access more diversified investors.”

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The Shanghai stock exchange in March called off a hearing for Syngenta’s proposed 65 billion yuan ($9.3 billion) IPO a day before the meeting was scheduled. Having spent about four years preparing for the listing, executives and advisors at the company were sh ocked by the last minute cancellation, Bloomberg News has reported. The company at that time contacted exchange authorities to seek clarity but did not receive a detailed response, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Sinochem Holdings Corp. has been exploring ways to salvage the planned Shanghai listing of its Swiss-headquartered unit including moving forward with a smaller IPO, Bloomberg News reported last month.

The Shanghai stock exchange will review Syngenta’s main board listing application, building on its previous assessment, the bourse said on Thursday. Syngenta didn’t mention any potential fundraising size in its statement, nor did the exchange’s.

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Should the IPO size remain at $9.3 billion, it would be on track to be the world’s largest since LG Energy Solution Ltd.’s $10.8 billion Seoul listing in January 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It could also be China’s fourth biggest- ever listing in local currency terms.

Syngenta, a Swiss national champion of agricultural chemicals and seeds, was acquired by China National Chemical Corp., or ChemChina, in 2017 for $43 billion, a record-breaking overseas acquisition for the country, and one that spoke to Beijing’s growing concerns around food security. Syngenta products like genetically-modified seeds are also crucial to meeting official goals of improving the quality and quantity of China’s agricultural production.

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Sinochem Holdings Corp. absorbed ChemChina in 2021. Since then, Syngenta has also incorporated the agricultural business of Sinochem.

ChemChina started internal work to prepare Syngenta for a listing in 2019, Bloomberg News reported at that time. The preparations have been ongoing since then, with the parent company holding talks with potential backers prior to the public offering. Syngenta filed its prospects to list on Shanghai’s Star board more than a year ago.

Syngenta’s sales rose to $9.2 billion in the three months ending in March, a 3% increase from the same period in 2022. The company said the growth of its crop protection businesses was slower after exceptionally strong quarters in the prior two years. ts China operations were robust, with sales jumping 26% from a year ago to $3 billion.

—With assistance from Amanda Wang, April Ma, Hallie Gu and Zhang Dingmin.

(Updates with Shanghai stock exchange’s statement in seventh paragraph.)


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