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China Daily Global / 2021-06 / 23 / Page006

Funds from planned Syngenta IPO may spur farm tech

By ZHONG NAN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-06-23 00:00

Syngenta Group Co Ltd, the Swiss seeds, crop protection and nutrition product manufacturer, will be able to use proceeds from its planned IPO on the STAR Market of the Shanghai Stock Exchange to facilitate high-quality development of agricultural technologies in China, the company said on Tuesday.

Experts in the field agreed, saying the planned IPO on the Nasdaq-style STAR Market, or the Science and Technology Innovation Board, appears to be a timely move.

Syngenta is an overseas subsidiary of Sinochem Holdings Corp Ltd, a centrally administered State-owned enterprise.

On Monday, Syngenta said it had begun preparatory steps with investment banks for the planned IPO.

Syngenta's financial advisors in China International Capital Corp, BOC International and CITIC Securities have filed a "pre-listing tutoring report" with the China Securities Regulatory Commission's Shanghai branch, a step preceding a listing application.

The agrichemical giant intends to list, but that would require a formal application, which will be subject to approvals from regulators concerned, the CSRC's Shanghai branch said in a pre-listing tutoring report published on its website on Monday.

After Syngenta lists on the STAR Market, it will continue to enlarge the optimal synergistic effect of globalization and continue to enrich the high-quality development of China's agricultural technologies, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

This move will create more favorable conditions for China to better gain high-quality global seed resources, and other practical farming solutions, said Ding Lixin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

Seed industry security is inseparable from food security. Food production can only be guaranteed by quality seeds and sufficient arable land, said Zhao Jiuran, director of the Corn Research Center under the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forest.

"Similar to industrial chips, a seed contains a large number of technologies. The seed business has been competing more fiercely at the national level in recent years," said Zhao.

"Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government's and consumers' understanding of food security has risen to an unprecedented high level throughout the world. Arable land and seed industry are important guarantees to solve the issues of food shortages."

With China deploying more resources and introducing policies to promote agricultural modernization in an all-round way, especially the modernization of agricultural science and technology, strengthening the integration of agriculture, science and technology is key to the government's work in this area, Syngenta said in its statement.

The company is expanding the research capacity of its innovation center in Beijing and will start operations at its global center for commercial breeding in Yangling, Shaanxi province, next year.

While preparing to establish a national-level innovation center for the maize seed industry, which will cover research areas like chemical plant protection, biological plant protection, soil restoration and agricultural biotechnology in China soon, the European company plans to accelerate the transformation and upgrading of the seed industry by empowering Chinese seed companies via a seed prosperity program.

China is expected to achieve considerable progress in modernizing its agriculture and rural areas in the next five years, according to the official document on agricultural affairs, or the "No 1 central document" for 2021 released by the central authorities in February.

As the first policy statement jointly released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet, each year, the document is seen as an indicator of policy priorities. Work on agriculture and rural areas has been high on the agenda since 2004.

Syngenta was bought by the erstwhile China National Chemical Corp Ltd, which was a part of Sinochem Holdings Corp Ltd, for $43 billion in 2017. It was restructured in 2020 as a company encompassing four business units-Syngenta Crop Protection, Syngenta Seeds, Syngenta Group China and Adama, an Israel-based crop protection solutions provider.


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