SWISS crop chemicals maker Syngenta saw shares jump yesterday, after a report it had been in talks about a $40bn (£23.6bn) takeover by US rival Monsanto to create the world's largest agrochemicals firm.
Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, and Syngenta had held preliminary talks about combining, partly to allow the US company to benefit from lower Swiss holding taxes, according to a report from Bloomberg. The talks were later abandoned, the report said.
A Syngenta spokesman declined to comment on the report and Monsanto was not immediately available for comment.
Syngenta shares closed 5.7 per cent higher at SFR345.80, the biggest gainers on the pan-European FTSEUROFIRST 300 index.
The reported talks with Monsanto put pressure on Syngenta chief executive Mike Mack to bolster the company's performance and to give money back to shareholders, several analysts, including those at Deutsche Bank and MainFirst said.
Syngenta's shares have lagged European rivals, falling 1.2 per cent over the past year compared with a nearly 21 per cent rise in the wider European chemicals sector.
The company is aiming to increase cost cuts to $1bn ($590m) a year by 2018 after disappointing investors with an 11 per cent fall in 2013 profit. Analysts are expecting more deals in the sector as larger players look to bulk up and broaden into crop protection.