Syngenta posts 75% growth in full-year net profit

7th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Agrochemical company Syngenta AG on Thursday posted a 75% rise in net profit last year boosted by strong demand and high commodity prices.

7 February 2008

BASEL - Agrochemical company Syngenta AG on Thursday posted a 75% rise in net profit last year boosted by strong demand and high commodity prices.

The Swiss company said net profit rose to US$1.11 billion from US$634 million in the same period a year earlier.

That beat analyst estimates of around US$1 billion.

Syngenta, which reports earnings only for the half year and full year, said sales increased 15% last year to US$9.24 billion from US$8.05 billion in 2006.

The company announced an increased dividend of CHF4.80 per share for 2008, up from CHF3.80 per share in 2006, and said it will continue its share buyback program. The aim is to return up to US$1 billion to shareholders this year, it said.

Shares in Syngenta were down 0.8% at CHF2.77 francs in Zurich.

Chief Executive Mike Mack said 2007 marked a turning point for the company with record commodity prices encouraging growers to boost investment and maximize yield, he said.

Mack said continued high demand for agricultural commodities would enable Syngenta "to target double digit growth in earnings per share through 2010."

Crop protection, which generates about 75% of Syngenta's revenue, increased by 14% to US$7.3 billion in the last year, compared with US$6.4 billion in 2006.

The crop protection business posted its strongest growth in Latin America with a 37% increase. Europe, Africa and the Middle East also reported double-digit growth.

Nina Baiker, an analyst with Zuercher Kantonalbank, said Syngenta's performance is very good. The company's crop protection division is well positioned to take advantage of farmers' needs to boost yield per acre for food and biofuels, she added.

[Copyright ap 2008]

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