Novartis and Astra Zeneca announced from Basel, Switzerland, Dec. 2 plans to spin off and merge each company's agriculture business units.
The new company would be named Syngenta AG and would be headquartered in Basel. It will be listed on the Swiss, London, New York and Stockholm stock exchanges.
Heinz Imhof, currently head of Novartis' Agribusiness unit, will become chairman. Michael Pragnell, presently CEO of Zeneca Agrochemicals, will be CEO.
The transaction is conditional on shareholder approval and regulatory clearances. Completion of merger details is expected to take place in the second half of 2000.
Based on combined sales of $7.9 billion in 1998, Syngenta will be ranked as No. 1 in all major regions. It will have a presence in over 100 countries.
It will create the first global dedicated agribusiness company. Novartis will retain its healthcare business. Based on combined '98 sales, the new company would rank No. 1 in the crop-protection market with leading positions in herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, seed treatments, and have a No. 3 position in seeds.