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Syngenta’s 2005 profits shoot up

A Syngenta scientist checks a plant in a seed research laboratory (Syngenta) Syngenta

Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta has reported a strong growth in profits, with annual sales for 2005 exceeding $8 billion (SFr10.4 billion) for the first time.

The company has promised to return around $800 million to shareholders this year.

Net profit excluding restructuring for 2005 increased by 25 per cent to $779 million and full-year sales rose 11 per cent to $8.1 billion, said the company in a statement.

It added that net profit after restructuring, impairment and discontinued operations also rose to $622 million from $460 million the year before.

The figures were all in line with analysts’ expectations.

“We are very happy with our overall progress and there was growth across all the businesses,” Michael Pragnell, Syngenta’s Chief Executive Officer, told Reuters.

The Basel-based company said it would return about $800 million to shareholders in 2006, increasing its dividend to SFr3.3 from SFr2.7 in 2004.

Market leader

Syngenta was created six years ago following the merger of the agrochemicals businesses belonging to AstraZeneca and Novartis. It is, along with German firm Bayer CropScience, one of the leading firms on the agrochemicals market.

It produces anti-weed and fungi chemicals and is a major player in the market for seeds for genetically altered pest-resistant crops.

Seeds account for around 30 per cent of sales and chemicals 70 per cent.

The company said that its crop protection segment had been driven by new products, which had reinforced its position in the market, particularly in the United States. Eastern Europe and Latin America also delivered good results.

The seeds sector also achieved “strong growth”, said the statement.

The company added that it expected the strong results to continue this year.

“Looking ahead, the strength of the business and our exciting pipeline products enable us to plan additional expenditure in marketing and product development and, for the three years through 2008, target double digit growth in our earnings per share,” said Pragnell.

swissinfo with agencies

Syngenta 2005 results:
Net profit excluding restructuring: $779 million (+25%).
Full-year sales: $8.1 billion (+11%).
Net profit after restructuring, impairment and discontinued operations: $622 million.
In addition, $800 million will be returned shareholders this year.

Syngenta is the world leader in crop protection and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market.

The company makes products that help farmers fight weeds, fungi and pests.

It was formed in 2000 by the merger of the agrochemicals divisions of AstraZeneca and Novartis.

It employs about 19,000 people in more than 90 countries.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR