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Syngenta profit flat, optimistic for 2010

Syngenta, the world’s largest agrochemicals company, has announced a full year profit of $1.37 billion (SFr1.45 billion) for 2009 on sales of $11 billion.

The results, which represent a one per cent increase in sales but a one per cent decline in profit, were announced by the Basel-based multinational on Friday, along with plans to return some $750 million to shareholders through share buyback programme and an unchanged dividend.

Earnings per share were $15.76 per cent, a three per cent decline over last year.

Syngenta, which makes products to kill weeds and insects, as well as genetically modified seeds, proposed a 2009 dividend of SFr6 ($5.66) per share, lower than a forecast SFr6.27. It had been expected to post net profit of $1.32 billion.

"Improved conditions in emerging markets are contributing to a more positive outlook for 2010 and lead us to expect volume growth starting in the second quarter," chief executive Mike Mack said in a statement.

Agricultural suppliers like Syngenta and its United States-based rival Monsanto, as well as Canadian fertiliser company PotashCorp and Germany's K+S have been struggling with lower sales as prices for farming products have fallen. and agencies

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