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Syngenta reports healthy first-half progress

Syngenta is the world's third biggest producer of seeds. Syngenta

The world’s largest agrochemicals group, Syngenta, has reported an 18 per cent rise in first-half net profit to $527 million (SFr715 million), excluding restructuring charges.

This content was published on July 30, 2003 - 11:11

But the Basel-based company warned that hot weather across Europe had stalled a farm market recovery.

The world’s largest maker of crop chemicals said in a statement on Wednesday that the profit had been supported by cost-cutting measures.

It forecast a “significant growth” in earnings per share for the year as a whole.

“Syngenta has sustained progress in the first half of 2003 against a background of challenging conditions,” commented chief executive Michael Pragnell.

“We have reinforced the quality of our business through focused price management, tight financial control and continued modernisation of the product portfolio,” he added.

Sales were up four per cent over the comparable period last year at $4.105 billion. But excluding a $320 million currency benefit, sales were three per cent lower.

Weak dollar

The company said the continued weakness of the US dollar resulted an in eight per cent rise in sales.

Pragnell said sales in the second half were expected to benefit from “robust progress” in Latin America. But he warned that this was likely to be offset by continued weakness in Europe and Asia, particularly given the hot weather.

"This is the driest summer in Europe for 25 years and this is extremely bad news for agriculture," Pragnell told Reuters.

He added that Syngenta was well prepared to handle the changing agricultural environment through its broad and innovative product range and marketing strengths.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Syngenta was created in 2000 by the merger of the agricultural businesses of Novartis and AstraZeneca.
The company is world leader in crop protection and number three in the commercial seeds market.
Its first-half profit, including restructuring charges, was SFr468 million.

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