Moody’s Puts Syngenta Under Review for Downgrade

Moody’s Investors Service said it may downgrade Syngenta AG after the Swiss agrochemicals maker announced it would sell its vegetable and flower seeds businesses and return cash to shareholders.

Syngenta, which fended off a $47 billion takeover approach from Monsanto Co., moved to shore up investor support with a plan to buy back more than $2 billion of shares. The Basel-based firm has had an A2 long-term issuer rating by Moody’s since 2007.

This could be confirmed or cut, depending in part on the financial impact of the loss of earnings and cash flows from selling the units, the ratings agency said in a statement Friday. “The review will also consider the risk attached to a potential delay in the completion of these divestments considering that the share repurchase program will commence in the coming weeks,” Moody’s said.