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Syngenta makes rocky stock market debut

Syngenta bosses, Heinz Imhof (left) and Michael Pragnall announcing the Bourse offering

(Keystone)

The newly created Swiss-Swedish crop protection company, Syngenta, suffered a volatile first day of trading on Monday.

After being launched on the Swiss bourse at an opening price of SFr85 per share, it dropped more than 12 per cent during the day to a low of SFr74, and eventually closed trading on Switzerland's SWX market at SFr79.50.

Analysts said the plunge was surprising, expecially given that the launch price had already been on the low side of expectations.

Syngenta was formed out a fusion between the agribusinesses of Swiss healthcare giant, Novartis, and Sweden's AstraZeneca.

A total of 4,5 million shares have been placed on the market out of 112 million. Currently Novartis holds 61 per cent of the shares, with the remaining 39 per cent in the hands of AstraZeneca.

The new firm, which will start life as the world's largest crop protection company, chalked up pro forma revenues of $7.3 billion in 1999, with profits reaching $1.175 billion.

Its backers say they expect the company to have shown "significant growth" by the end of this year.

swissinfo with agencies

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