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Syngenta sees more savings as profit stagnates

Markets in 2001 have been tougher than expected Keystone

The world's largest producer of crop chemicals, Syngenta of Basel, has reported that it expects $150 million (SFr250.65 million) in savings this year, $60 million more than previously estimated.

Company chief executive officer Michael Pragnell said Syngenta was on course to make $525 million in savings by 2004 as it closes 10 manufacturing sites and six technology centres over the next three years.

The company’s net profit for the first six months of the year was $400 million, up $1 million over the comparable period in 2000.

Sales fell by nine per cent to $4.03 billion, mainly due to the fact that United States farmers are planting less corn.

Earlier this year, Syngenta told investors that it had a slow start in 2001 and that it expected US farmers to plant about four per cent less acreage with corn this year.

Unusually cold weather in the US forced farmers to delay planting crops while a rainy few months in Europe prevented farmers from treating their crops with herbicides, Syngenta said.

Pragnell said in a statement that with commodity crop prices still low and increased instability in Brazil and Argentina at the start of their main season, second half sales were unlikely to show improvement.

He added that the increased reduction in costs would underpin or even slightly improve earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

Syngenta was formed last year be the merger of the agribusinesses of Novartis and AstraZeneca.

swissinfo with agencies

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