Farmers Have Qualms About DuPont, Dow Chemical Merger
Farm groups call for thorough regulatory review
The deal, announced Friday, would create a combined company called DowDuPont worth more than $120 billion at current valuations that would later split into three publicly traded businesses focused on agriculture, material sciences and specialty products in nutrition and electronics.
DowDuPont’s revenue from its chemicals and materials businesses would be far larger, but the markets for those products tend to be more fragmented. The agriculture business would boast major market share: to about 41% of sales of U.S. corn seeds and related genetics versus DuPont’s current 35% and Dow’s 6%, for example.
What’s more, analysts expect the tie-up could fuel further deal making among the six companies that currently dominate the global market for seed and crop chemicals, a group that also includes Monsanto Co. MON -0.14 % , Syngenta AG SYT -3.74 % , Bayer AG BAYRY 0.52 % and BASF SE. BASFY 0.69 %
Analysts expect the DuPont-Dow deal to face close examination—in the U.S. and the European Union as well as other major markets like Brazil. The “global nature of the antitrust hurdles are…likely to be significant,” analysts at Piper Jaffray PJC 0.89 % & Co. wrote.
‘It’s time for federal regulators to remember that bigger isn’t always better.’
“It’s time for federal regulators to remember that bigger isn’t always better,” said the group’s president, Roger Johnson.
The National Corn Growers Association said it would study the merger’s likely impact on research, grain pricing, and costs for seeds and pesticides and “will do all we can to protect farmer interests and preserve an open and competitive marketplace.”
Dave Nelson, who farms near Fort Dodge, Iowa, said he has concerns that consolidation could blunt the competitive drive among big seed and chemical companies to create new products and bring them to market quickly. But he said it wouldn’t much alter how he chooses seeds and sprays.
“In this type of [poor] ag economy you’re going to see more consolidation,” Mr. Nelson said. “It’s a sign of the times.”
Write to Jacob Bunge at email@example.com