Andrey Tsyganov: global deals on the agrochemical market require news approaches from the antimonopoly bodies

02-06-2017 | 14:40

Considering global deals on the world agrochemical market, it is necessary to take into account their impact upon innovations in the context of patent-protected technologies used by the parties and “package” technological solutions offered to business

On 19 May 2017, representatives of foreign competition authorities and experts from different countries discussed possible approaches to analyzing megamergers on agrochemical markets during the session on “Global Mergers in the Food Sector and  Competition Law and Policy” at 2017 St Petersburg Legal Forum.

“The modern model of agro-business as well as global economic concentration processes in this sector require competition authorities of all countries in the world to consolidate efforts towards elaborating new approaches to such deals”, pointed out the session moderator, Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsyganov, opening the discussion.

Head of FAS Department for Control over Chemical Industry and Agro-industrial Complex, Anna Mirochinenko, talked about new approached that FAS intends to use analyzing economic concentration deals on agrochemical markets, particularly, “Bayer” acquiring “Monsanto”.

“The market of seeds and plant-protecting agents is just a tip of the iceberg. The main impact upon the company position on those markets, including mid-term prospects, can come from patent-protected innovative technologies that they have; access to data sets required to develop modern seeds and hybrids; and use of closed integration solutions that restrict the ability of competitors to bring new products to the market. Investigating a deal we have to evaluate how the deal may affect Russian market of innovations”, emphasized Anna Mirochinenko.

She pointed out that such deals require new methodological approaches, engagement of the interested federal executive bodies, the expert community and consultations with foreign competition authorities.

Methodology for analyzing such deals was also discussed by BRICS Working Group on food products.

A professor of LondonUniversityCollege, a principal researcher of the Institute of Law and Development, HSE - Skolkovo, Yanis Lianos analyzed international M&A practice on the agrochemical market and outlined the causes of corporate consolidation, drawing attention to the seeds market. He said: “Consolidation on the seeds market is not unique. It also applies to other markets, for instance, pesticide manufacturers. The importance of consolidation is determined by large costs in R&D. Not all companies have sufficient resources to support a high level of innovations necessary for the market”. He added that competition authorities should reconsider legislative initiatives protecting competition on those markets, enabling to reduce economic and technological dependence of farmers from producers of seeds and plant-protecting agents.