BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators have resumed their investigation into the $130 billion merger of U.S. chemicals giants Dow Chemical (DOW.N) and DuPont (DD.N) after the companies provided data they had been asked for.
The European Commission, which halted its scrutiny in early September, will now decide by Feb. 6 whether to approve the deal.
Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso confirmed in an email that the companies had submitted important information requested by the EU competition enforcer.
Dow Chemical and DuPont said they were confident of securing EU approval.
"We remain focused on working with the European Commission toward closing the transaction by year-end 2016. In the event that the Commission utilises the full allotted time, closing would be expected to occur in the early part of 2017, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of all regulatory approvals," the companies said in a statement.
They may have to offer concessions after the Commission opened a full investigation into the case in August, concerned that the deal to create the world's largest integrated crop protection and seeds company might reduce competition in these sectors as well as certain petrochemicals.
A preliminary offer from the companies was considered inadequate to resolve the Commission's regulatory concerns.
The agricultural chemicals industry has seen a wave of consolidation in recent months as companies bulk up to better compete with each other.
The Commission is examining another agrichemicals deal involving ChemChina and Syngenta (SYNN.S) while German pharmaceutical and crop chemicals manufacturer Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) plans to buy U.S. rival and the world's biggest seeds company Monsanto Co (MON.N).
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; writing by Julia Fioretti; editing by David Clarke