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Syngenta cuts product line to boost profit margins

MIchael Pragnell, chief executive of Syngenta

(Keystone Archive)

The world's largest agrochemicals group, Syngenta, plans to cut the number of products in its portfolio. Chief executive, Martin Pragnell, said the Basel-based company intends to focus only on those products with high profit margins.

Speaking to Swiss financial newspaper, "Finanz und Wirtschaft", Pragnell said Syngenta would reduce the number of products in the pipeline from 121 to 76 over the next three years and divest those that are less profitable.

"This will help Syngenta focus its energies and make it more understandable to shareholders," Pragnell added.

Syngenta also announced on Wednesday that it was selling its flutriafol fungicide business to Denmark's Cheminova for an initial $15 million.

The Swiss-based group was formed in November from the merger of the agribusinesses of Switzerland's Novartis and Britain's AstraZeneca.

The sale represents the last major divestment to satisfy the European Union's conditions for anti-trust approval of the merger.

On Monday, the company announced that pre-tax earnings for 2000 rose by 19 per cent to $450 million (SFr765 million), as expected.

However, Pragnell said sales in the first months of this year were down on 2000, reflecting depressed commodity prices, bad weather and a lack of confidence in Europe following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

swissinfo with agencies


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