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Last Updated : Jan 16, 2018 07:06 PM IST | Source: PTI

Bayer expects CCI nod by April-May for $66 billion Monsanto deal

India is one of the 30 countries whose approval is needed for the merger to go through. As many as 14 countries have approved the merger.


German chemical and pharma major Bayer today expressed confidence that it would secure fair trade regulator CCI's nod by April or May for the USD 66 billion acquisition of US-based biotech major Monsanto.

India is one of the 30 countries whose approval is needed for the merger to go through. As many as 14 countries have approved the merger.

The company has secured one approval in the US, while one more is pending. European Union's clearance is also awaited.

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"We are working with the regulator. We are confident of getting the CCI approval," said Richard van der Merwe, the senior Buyer representative, South Asia.

Monsanto would add seed business to Bayer's already significant crop science and pharmaceutical business in India.

While refusing to give details of the size of the merged entity, he said Bayer India had an annual revenue of 600 million euros (about Rs 4,700 crore) in 2017.

He said Bayer hopes that all litigations involving Monsanto over royalty issues on the sale of Bt cotton seeds in India would get resolved by the middle of this year, else it will have to fight it out.

Bayer is buying out Monsanto in a USD 66 billion deal. Both the companies have a presence in India, with the US firm selling genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds in the country for more than a decade.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has launched a public consultation process to determine whether the merger between the global giants, to create the worlds largest seeds and pesticide firm, will have an adverse impact on competition in India.

Merwe said the CCI has already approved the merger deals of Dow Chemical and Dupont as well as Syngenta and Chemchina.

"We have exited from herbicide business. There are still some overlaps like vegetable seeds but there are 300 seed companies in India and there is no monopoly," he said, adding that the CCI nod is expected by April-May 2018.

Asked about government price control and a cap on trait fees, Merwe said: "It bothers us. There is a fine line between regulations and new investment."

He said Bayer and Monsanto would invest 2.5 billion euro per annum globally on R&D in crop science.

The agriculture ministry is controlling the price of cotton seeds and also fixes royalty fees to be charged by seed technology companies.

On intellectual property rights in India, he said there is no concern.

Asked about the company's stand on genetically modified (GM) crops, Merwe said: "We are not anti-GM technology. It has a role to play".

However, he said the commercial cultivation of GM crops should be regulated.

"We are not acquiring Monsanto to push GM crops," he said.

As per a notice filed by Bayer before the CCI in October 2016, the "proposed combination raises no competitive concern in any of the overlap products".

In India, both entities have a presence in production and sale of vegetable seeds, cotton seeds as well as in production and sale of non-selective herbicides, according to that notice.

Bayer group is present in India since 1896 and it has two divisions -- crop science and pharmaceuticals. The group has one listed entity in India -- Bayer CropScience Ltd that posted a revenue from the operation of nearly Rs 3,000 crore last fiscal.

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First Published on Jan 16, 2018 06:45 pm
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