China’s ChemChina acquires Syngenta for $43M


‘Syngenta’ helps humanity face its toughest challenge: how to feed a rising population, sustainably. They apply world-class science and the most productive research and development in the industry to achieve a step change in agricultural productivity. In more than 90 countries around the world, their employees enable millions of farmers to improve global food security by making better, more sustainable use of available resources.
With Syngenta’s $12 Billion in annual sales Not profits, the Chinese government is using the company ChemChina to ensure food security by creating such mega mergers . here is the extract from nyt.com:

LONDON — The Chinese government wants to make sure its food supply is reliable and safe as it works to feed a rapidly growing middle class. So it was a coup on Wednesday when a Chinese company won approval to take over one of the world’s largest suppliers of seeds and pesticides.

By clearing the deal with European Union regulators, China National Chemical Corporation is close to the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta, the Swiss farm chemical and seed company. It would be the largest Chinese takeover of a foreign company and is one of three proposed mergers in a stop-and-go international race seeking greater influence over the world’s food supply.

“China has been trying to develop its own seed industry — and agricultural chemicals as well — for decades, and the progress has been slow,” said Fred Gale, a senior economist at the United States Department of Agriculture. “This is an attempt to upgrade productivity.”

The deal between China National Chemical Corporation, a state-owned company known as ChemChina, and Syngenta comes as trade relations between China and the West have become increasingly tense. The situation has been made worse by President Trump’s sharp talk on the issue.

Syngenta’s clearance from the European Union is part of an international competition that includes Dow Chemicals and DuPont, who are still working to close their merger. Though best known as chemical companies, Dow and DuPont, both based in the United States, also have huge agricultural businesses.

Bayer AG, the German industrial conglomerate, is also trying to complete its multibillion takeover of Monsanto. That deal would give Bayer control of the company most closely associated with the rise of genetically modified foods.

And ChemChina’s takeover of Syngenta would give Beijing more influence over many of the seeds and chemicals it needs to feed its swelling population.

If all three deals are completed, they would reshape the global agricultural chemical business, reducing competition in the industry.

It is an important play for China, which has struggled to maintain and upgrade its food supply in recent years. China hopes to better feed its increasingly affluent population, but several food scandals have made Chinese citizens suspicious of domestic supply chains.

Those scandals have fueled anxiety about genetically modified food, even as China wants to use the science to increase production. Although China has poured money into research, it still bans cultivation of genetically modified food for human consumption, and knowledge about genetically modified organisms is limited.

The ChemChina deal could bolster China’s efforts to become a major player in genetically modified food. But Mr. Gale said Chinese consumers would probably remain wary.

“The general public has become very suspicious of seeds,” he said. “That will be an obstacle to Syngenta becoming a pipeline for G.M.O. seeds in the China market.”

ChemChina will have to sell prized assets to take control of Syngenta.

To appease European officials, it must sell substantial parts of its European businesses that make pesticides and substances that stimulate or slow plant growth.

“It is important for European farmers and ultimately consumers that there will be effective competition in pesticide markets, also after ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Union commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. “ChemChina has offered significant remedies, which fully address our competition concerns.”

The European Union granted its approval a day after ChemChina received the go-ahead from the United States Federal Trade Commission. The F.T.C.’s approval hinged on ChemChina selling parts of a subsidiary’s business in the United States to an agricultural chemical company based in California. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which focuses on national security issues and was also regarded as a significant potential obstacle, cleared the deal in August.

The ChemChina deal for Syngenta is part of a spate of consolidation in the agricultural chemical industry globally, as companies have tried to meet the challenge of falling crop prices.

Their efforts to win new customers are being made more difficult by consumer resistance. Widespread suspicion of genetically modified foods in Europe means that protests against Monsanto can draw thousands, and several European countries ban their cultivation.

The approval of antitrust agencies would be seen as promising for others seeking deals, said Dale Stafford, the head of mergers and acquisitions for the Americas at Bain & Company, a business consultancy.

“This sends a strong signal that even though there needs to be concessions, with the right strategic deals, they can happen,” Mr. Stafford said.

The ability to complete another agricultural chemicals deal, however, could be diminished by the huge deals that have been done.

“As markets get more concentrated, the impact on competition gets amplified,” said Elai Katz, who leads the antitrust practice at the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel. This could make it harder to get deals past agencies or to find buyers for divestitures.

In recent years, Chinese companies have been on an acquisition binge, buying major strategic assets like copper mines and oil deposits, and investing in flashier, if less economically or geopolitically important, deals for marquee names like the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan.

Lately, there have been signs that the shopping spree might be ending. China has tightened limits on how much money it is allowing past its borders, and that has threatened purchases that some Chinese officials have criticized as frivolous.

Far fewer overseas acquisitions by Chinese companies have been announced this year than by this time a year ago. The value of these deals has also fallen to about $31 billion this year compared with $87 billion at the same point last year, according to Dealogic, the financial data company.

American and European companies alike have criticized China’s ambitious plan to build up its own technology industries, which the overseas businesses worry could create global competitors and potentially weaken their business in the big Chinese market.

And in the United States, takeover watchdogs have blocked several deals that they say could affect national security, while some lawmakers are calling for even tighter reviews.

Yet Chinese companies have shown a willingness to be aggressive when it matters. And for China, food matters.

“On one hand they want to have the best technology, but at the same time they don’t want their markets to be dominated by international companies like Monsanto, Dupont or Bayer,” Mr. Gale said. “So that’s the fastest way to do it, buy the technology. That seems to be China’s strategy now.”

 

Regards from April.

 

From exemplary political activism to Politics


A political activist is someone who is involved in the political process for the sake of promoting, impeding or raising awareness of a certain issue or set of issues. Political activism typically involves engagement beyond just voting, whether it be through protest, demonstration or lecture.

Since the onset of 2012, political activist and entrepreneur Boniface Mwangi has been on the steady rise to fame becoming a household name when it comes to street demonstrations and putting pressure on the ‘overpaid’ and corrupt officials. Among-st his achievements is the m-pigs campaign that raised controversy with  animal rights activists on whether he slaughtered pigs outside the parliament building back in May 2013. He was cleared on the allegations and has never looked back since. Flash-forward to 2017, Boniface has a new political party and is running for member of parliament.

Boniface has taken up two different and important roles “When an activist becomes a politician, society loses the former to gain the latter. The reverse is also true. There are exceptions but they are rare. “Bob Kerrey, former U.S. senator

with his recent comments on facebook about members of parliament pay cuts, he has gathered a following that would give him an audience and the traffic he gets on his social media proves it. Below are his comments on corruption and the recent speech made by president Uhuru Kenyatta.

 

We must remember that we still remain a developing country with a long way to go. We are not going to be able to achieve what you want overnight. Right now it seems to me that the doctors should pay attention to our national circumstance and it seems to me that they should remember the higher duty to protect life. It seems to me that it would be wise for them to be guided by patience and practicality” ~ President Uhuru Kenyatta.

If this isn’t the height of hypocrisy by the president then I don’t know what is. He says we must remember that we are a developing nation and that doctor’s must be guided by patience. He says doctors took an oath to protect lives and I wonder if he remembers that he took an oath too.

Well said President Uhuru Kenyatta however, we can cite several instances where you failed to take your own advice. When members of parliament pushed for a salary increment they got their wish with a simple YES. You didn’t oppose, condemn, or come out as strongly to ask them to understand that we’re still a developing nation, YOU DID NOT.

30% of our national budget (600 Billion) is stolen and if you dealt with that you would have more than enough money to pay doctors. Kshs 5 Billion was stolen from Ministry of Health, you didn’t take action. Josephine Kabura admitted receiving Sh1.6 Billion from Billions stolen from NYS but she is still free. They’re countless examples of money been stolen since 2013 and your response has been “Unataka nifanye nini?” (What do you want me to do?)

How many have died because of this continuous looting under your watch? Inspite of all this looting not a single big thief is in jail. In the past two years over 60 helicopters have been bought by politicians most of them using money stolen from Kenyans.

In 2014 the National Irrigation Board and Green Arava (GA), an Israeli company signed a Sh14.5 Billion deal to fulfill one of the Jubilee Government’s agriculture flagship projects, the one-million-acre Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme.

Fast forward 2017 and Kenyans are dying of hunger. You are now accepting food from a desert country, UAE as we, a rich agricultural nation is suffering from drought because your government failed to plan.

The greatest of all is that you, as commander in chief, have stood by as our taxes have been looted. You have stood by as politicians continue to blackmail Kenyans and steal from us.

As l write this, outgoing MPs want to be paid Sh3.3 billion. They claim the pay is for the period between August 8, when the General Election will be held, and March 2018, when their five-year term was supposed to end. They want to be paid for work not done. You haven’t opposed this attempted theft.

Mr. president, l expect you and your overpaid cabinet secretaries to take a pay cut. You must start earning a developing country’s salary. Lead by example. Furthermore if the public hospitals where 45 millions Kenyans are expected to use are good enough, then you should use them too but they’re not.

The Doctors want hospitals to be well equipped but you have made this strike about salaries alone which is a huge misinformation. Read the CBA and you’ll be able to comprehend that doctors aren’t striking because they have no conscience but actually because they do. They don’t want to supervise death anymore.

Ps: The nurses, clinical officers, teachers, low-level civil servants, lecturers and the police are witnesses to you and the deputy president getting significant pay-rises starting from July 2017. Please remember them, they too deserve better pay for their work. And lastly if you dealt with corruption as a national disaster Kenya would develop faster,everyday hundreds of millions of shillings are lost through tax evasion,investors and businesses have to factor bribes as a cost of doing business in Kenya. Insecurity,unreliable water and electricity supply,bad roads etc are a result of corruption and have made Kenya’s growth stagnate. Fight corruption,reward and protect whistle blowers, jail and repossess stolen wealth and Kenya will become a developed nation. KaziKwako my friend.

Courtesy PAWA254 Media

How To Raise $215Million in Asia and Africa


Mobike
Mobike uses Internet of Things(IoT) to lure investors

Imagine you came up with an idea that could get people healthy and help the environment. Imagine you quit your dream job, launched a startup around the idea and 2 years later had turned the idea into a billion dollar company.

That’s exactly what David Wang has just done.

Two years ago David quit his job as General Manager of Uber in Shanghai after thinking “Why don’t I create an Uber for bikes?

He launched his company, Mobike, a year ago. Each of his bikes has a pedal-powered GPS, smart lock and timer, so you can find a bike and unlock it with your Mobike App, get charged 15c per hour, and then leave it wherever you finish your ride.

David knew the key to his idea was making his own low cost, high tech bikes. So he started bike-building, and launched the service in Shanghai in April last year.

The bikes were so popular, in August he attracted $10 million from Panda Capital. Then, a month later he raised another $100 million from well known VCs.

By the end of 2016, Mobike’s Shanghai GM, Michael Yao (in photo) said: “We just announced passing the 100,000th bike in Shanghai earlier this month. We are currently operating in nine cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Ningbo, Xiamen, Foshan and Wuhan.”

Shanghai has now become the No.1 bike-sharing city in the world, and China is now producing more ride-sharing bikes than all the rest of the world put together.

 

“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.” ~ William Butler Yeats

mobike-3

This month Mobike raised $215 million from Tencent and a group of VCs, likely at a valuation of over $1 billion, and this week Xiaofeng did a deal with Foxconn which will get 10 million Mobikes on the road by the end of this year.

Less than 2 years after starting his company, David has 1.5 million users taking 500,000 bike rides each day. That’s 1.5 million users getting healthy and improving the air quality of China’s cities each day. He now plans to be in 100 cities in China and around the world by the end of this year.

In his announcement of the Foxconn deal this week, David said “In 2017, we aim to enable residents in a hundred cities in China and internationally to enjoy our unique and convenient solution.”

That solution is the bicycle, invented in 1817 (and celebrating its 200th birthday this year), with some high tech upgrades.

In other words, he took a 200 year old invention and turned it into a billion dollar startup.

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.

In fact, the technology that David is using for his bikes is freely accessible to anyone to start a similar company.

mobike-2

 

The difference is, he took massive action.

What simple idea are you delaying today?

Where will you be in 2 years from now by simply taking that next step?

Time to get on your bike!

 

courtesy: Roger Hamilton

 

The Africa Innovation Challenge


“As part of its longstanding commitment to Africa, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) today announced the launch of the Africa Innovation Challenge, an initiative to support Africa’s vibrant and growing innovation ecosystem and to help develop important and locally sustainable consumer health solutions.  The challenge is the latest initiative in the company’s comprehensive approach to advancing health and innovation worldwide. The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies’ presence in Africa dates back more than 80 years and includes business operations, public health programs and corporate citizenship.”

Johnson and Johnson

Throughout Africa, we are looking to drive entrepreneurship and help advance promising consumer health-care solutions. Chosen applicants will receive a combination of awards including funding up to US $100,000, potential lab space in Africa and/or business and technical mentoring from some of the brightest minds at Johnson & Johnson to help bring their idea to life and create meaningful change in their community or country.

More about the application process

The submitted consumer health care solutions will be evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Idea submission addresses at least one of the three challenge categories:
    1) Promoting Early Child Development & Maternal Health in Africa,
    2) Empowering Young Girls in Africa,
    3) Improving Family Well-being in Africa
  • Idea submission is innovative and creative
  • Idea submission is scalable
  • Idea submission outlines how the award would help them reach a critical milestone within the time frame of a single year and provides a full commercialization plan

You have to sign up for an account to get started, and you will receive an email to activate your account. You will be guided through the application process which will include signing our general Terms and Conditions Agreement, filling out your application form and uploading your non-confidential project plan.

Deadline to apply is January 17th, 2017
Winners will be announced by the end of February 2017

Apply_Here

12 Hours Left For E. Africa Amplify Challenge


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If you are a fan of design and all the innovations taking place in the global design world then you are in for a surprise. For the past few days openideo has been organizing a Youth Empowerment challenge for all the interested parties to apply for the challenge.

The challenge has so far received tremendous applications which can viewed on the openideo dashboard. There are 455 ideas submitted so far and counting. There are also a few research contributions on how the Youth can be empowered. The 269 contributions can assist you as an entrepreneur in knowing exactly what the East African Youth value the most.

By giving feedback on the submitted ideas, you can ensure that the $500,000 prize goes to the right idea… or not.

Enjoy

Merger Updates


In the past 6 months, A few banks changed ownership and a few other things. Here is a break down.kenya-chinese-trade

Stanbic: Eight years after the merger between Stanbic and CFC banks, which created CFC Stanbic, Stanbic has rebranded and removed the “CFC” name completely from the bank. The 2008 merger created the number 4 bank in Kenya, and today it is about number 7 in assets with 25 branches and listed on the Nairobi shares exchange. The Stanbic brand will now be common in the 20 countries across Africa.

Bank M (of Tanzania) published a statement, denying they are the majority owners of the former Oriental Commercial Bank in Kenya – now known as M Oriental since June 2016. It states that MHL is a Kenyan entity that is promoted by some shareholders of Bank M, but that it does not have direct ownership.

QNB: Qatar National Bank continues to run quarterly newspaper ads on it’s size in Kenya without being linked to any Kenyan bank. Today’s newspaper which touts them as the largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa region, with September 2016 assets of $196 billion (up 37%) and profits of $2.7 billion (up 11%).

Courtesy: Bankelele

Trump breaks Facebook and twitter record in first debate


The first televised showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was the most-tweeted presidential debate ever, according to Twitter.

The social network provided the receipts, as millions of tweets were sent out during as the two candidates duked it out during the 90-minute debate.

Trump was the most talked about candidate on both Facebook (79% of the conversation) and Twitter (62% of the conversation)—not that all of that chatter was positive.

The Republican also had the top moment on social media: when he exclaimed that his best quality was his “temperament.” That remark, and Clinton’s response, was the most talked about moments on both social networks.

Other top moments include Trump’s comments on New York City’s now defunct stop-and-frisk policy and an exchange with Clinton on a plan for defeating ISIS.

(c) Daniel white – Time

 

Introducing Akua Naru – Nag Champa GOLD //”Live & Aflame Sessions


Born Latanya Hinton and raised in New Haven (USA), Akua Naru’s journey to internationally acclaimed hip hop artist has led her from the city’s Newhallville section to Cologne, Germany where she currently resides and creates music. Along this female wordsmith’s journey, there have been many stops – Philadelphia, China, and Ghana, among others – all of which informed the wisdom and perspective which is evident in her music. The next step on this journey takes here to sub-Saharan Africa where she will perform in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Ruanda, Uganda and Kenya.


The Goethe-Institut Kenya and The Alchemist are proud to present this unique Hip Hop artist. Check out her exemplary live skills here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9tgfx68rac

After the concert, Blinky Bill will keep the show going with a DJ set.Courtesy twitter.com/nevillekgb

 

Admission: KSh 500

INTERESTED IN ORACLE TRAINING


Certified Oracle training
Certified Oracle training

C4DLab has put a deadline for submitting payments for its first ever database administration training coming up in October.

The announcement comes as classes are set to begin officially on October 3 this year.

“For efficient planning purposes, all payments should have been made by mid September,” reads a Facebook post in part.

To be offered in both part time and full time sessions, candidates for Oracle Certified Associate as well as Oracle Certified Professional courses are looking to spend a minimum of 20 hours and Sh17,000 per package.

“This Training will enable you to attain the following skills: understand SQL features which will help you query and manipulate data within the database, use the dictionary views to retrieve metadata and create reports about their schema objects; manage Oracle database storage structures; monitor the database; manage database performance as well as install Oracle Database 12c software ,” reads part of the course registration page (c4dlab.ac.ke/oracle-database-administration-training/).

However, notes the site, the applicants for Oracle Certified Associate should either be students pursuing a Diploma/ Degree in an IT related course, or be a graduate with a Diploma/ Degree in an IT related course.

“The applicants for the Oracle Certified Professional should have passed the examinations for Oracle Certified Associate,” adds the site.

To be offered at the C4DLab facility in the College of Biological and Physical Sciences(Chiromo), the packages for Oracle Certified Associate include Oracle Database 12c Introduction to Sql to be completed in 40 hours and is to cost Sh25,000.

On the other hand, for Oracle Certified Professional, a package such as Oracle Database 12c Backup and Recovery is to be completed in 40 hours, costing Sh25,000.

Oracle Database 12c Administration Workshop, belonging to Oracle Certified Associate course as well as Oracle Database 12c Installation and Upgrade Workshop, take 40 and 20 hours respectively to finish, and are to cost Sh25, 000 and Sh17,000 respectively.

The last, Oracle Database 12c Multitenant Architecture belonging to Oracle Certified Professional course is to take 40 hours, costing Sh17,000.

“The mode of study for part time: 3 hours in the evening for 5 days a week translating to 2.5 Months per Module. For full time, it is 6 hours a day from 9.00am-4.00pm for 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), translating to 2.5 months per Module,” continues the page on the website(c4dlab.ac.ke/oracle-database-administration-training/).

Meanwhile, interested persons can register from the same page (c4dlab.ac.ke/oracle-database-administration-training/)

 

courtesy Moses Omusolo