Syngenta ditches multi-billion dollar China IPO bid

Syngenta ditches multi-billion dollar China IPO bid


Syngenta ditches multi-billion dollar China IPO bid

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Swiss agrichemicals and seeds group Syngenta on Friday withdrew its bid for a multi-billion dollar listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange during a recent period of weakness in the Chinese equity market.

The initial public offering (IPO), which would have valued the Chinese-owned firm at as much as $60 billion, has been postponed repeatedly since being proposed in 2021 due to unfavourable market conditions.

"After careful consideration of the industry environment and the company's development strategy, Syngenta Group has decided to withdraw its application for IPO on the main board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange," the company said on Friday.

The flotation had, like other recent deals, come unstuck due to a lull in the Chinese market, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Syngenta spokesman Saswato Das declined to give further details on why the company had stepped back from the IPO.

Syngenta said it will look to restart the listing process either in China or on a different exchange when conditions are right, as well as explore alternative sources of funding.

Market analysts have previously cited Hong Kong, Zurich, and London as potential alternatives for a Syngenta listing.

The sudden chill in China's IPO market, which was the world's biggest in 2022 and 2023, comes after the securities watchdog, under new chairman Wu Qing, vowed to step up scrutiny of listing candidates and crack down on any lapses.

During January-March 2024, money raised via China IPOs plunged two-thirds from a year earlier to just $2.4 billion, the smallest quarterly fundraising since the last quarter of 2018, and down 82% from a year earlier, preliminary LSEG data showed.

Executives of the company owned by Sinochem said as recently as last November that Syngenta planned to list in 2024. The partial floatation was expected to raise around $10 billion.

The Shanghai Exchange said in a filing that the bourse had terminated its review of Syngenta's IPO application after the company applied to withdraw it.

Weak demand in key markets such as Brazil has put pressure on the company's earnings.

Sales at the Basel-based company dipped last year by 4% to $32.2 billion from $33.4 billion in 2022, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation fell by 18% to $4.6 billion, Syngenta said later on Friday.