A planned mega-merger between two of the oldest companies in the United States is facing scrutiny in the European Union, where regulators are probing whether the tie-up would disadvantage farmers.
The EU’s top antitrust authority said on Thursday that her office would take a closer look at a proposed merger between Dow Chemicals and DuPont, two major American producers of agrichemicals.
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement that Dow and DuPont had already submitted merger remedies – proposals for mitigating any possible harm to competition – but that these had been insufficient and so it decided to launch its investigation. The probe will last 90 days until Dec. 20.
Dow and DuPont announced last December that they intended to merge and create the world’s biggest chemical and materials group, valued at $130 billion (116.4 billion euros). But there are worries that such a large fusion could corner the market in areas like herbicide, insecticides, seeds and certain petrochemicals.
“The livelihood of farmers depends on access to seeds and crop protection at competitive prices. We need to make sure that the proposed merger does not lead to higher prices or less innovation for these products,” Vestager said.
cjc/pad (AP, AFP)