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Syngenta profit holds steady but sales fall

Syngenta has maintained earnings by cutting costs. Syngenta

Net income at the agrochemicals company, Syngenta, has remained steady at $223 million (SFr380 million), but sales fell eight per cent.

The world’s biggest agrochemicals company said merger synergies had helped it boost its operating margin, confirming analysts’ expectations that the firm would outperform rivals in difficult market conditions.

The company says it expects this trend to continue even though the global economic slowdown will continue to bite.

“Although we expect market conditions to remain difficult for 2002, our drive for improving performance ratios is supported by a further $160 million synergy savings target in line with our three-year programme,” said chief executive Michael Pragnell.

“We continue to build on the progress made in our first year and remain focused on our medium-term goals.”

Syngenta was formed in 2000 by merging the agribusinesses of the life sciences groups, Novartis and AstraZeneca. It has been implementing an aggressive round of cuts to defend its operating margins at a time when its farm sector sales are slumping.

Sales of crop protection products, where Syngenta is market leader, fell five per cent last year. Sales of seeds, where Syngenta is less well placed, rose two per cent.

Syngenta generates up to two thirds of its sales in the first half of the year during the planting season in the northern hemisphere.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR