Syngenta has reported full-year 2005 sales up 11 percent to $8.1 billion; (up 9 percent at constant exchange rates). Earnings per share were up 31 percent to $7.67.



Full-year Crop Protection sales were up 3 percent. Seeds sales rose by 42 percent, up 9 percent, excluding acquisitions.



In the company news release, Michael Pragnell, CEO, said:



"In 2005, Syngenta delivered another year of growth across the business. In Crop Protection, continued new product momentum helped to drive market share gains and reinforced our leadership position, notably in the USA. Eastern Europe once again delivered double digit growth, and in Latin America, performance was robust despite more challenging conditions in Brazil.



"Progress in Professional Products was driven by the continuing success of our Seed Care portfolio. Seeds also achieved strong growth: in their first year post-acquisition, the corn and soybean businesses, GARST(R) and GOLDEN HARVEST(R), performed well, reinforcing a strong underlying performance. Vegetables seeds maintained its growth record of the last six years. Our continuing focus upon cost and capital efficiency combined with strong sales growth led to increased earnings and further improvements in financial ratios."



Highlights by division:



Crop Protection: New products continued to expand, with sales up 22 percent to $847 million, driven by the CALLISTO(R) range ($387 million) and ACTARA(R)/CRUISER(R) ($346 million). In NAFTA, sales grew across all product lines. Sales in Europe also improved in the fourth quarter, after a cold early season followed by drought in southern Europe. Eastern Europe maintained its record of double-digit growth. In Latin America, an improvement in the second half in Brazil and a strong performance in Argentina resulted in modest growth for the full year. Asia-Pacific increased sales in a number of markets, notably China and Japan.



Seeds: Sales increased in all regions. In corn and soybean, the successful first season of GARST(R) and GOLDEN HARVEST(R) in the USA, coupled with a strong performance from NK(R), led to sales more than doubling. The input trait pipeline for corn, comprising glyphosate tolerance, corn rootworm and corn borer insect control, is progressing well, and a full offer including stacked traits is targeted for 2008 in the USA.



Diverse Field Crops also performed strongly, partly benefiting from increased demand for biofuels. In Vegetables, demand for fresh produce continues to expand and sales showed strong growth in both the Americas and Asia, driven by a wide variety of new launches. Flowers sales declined slightly for the full year although recovered somewhat in the second half.

Plant Science: In enzymes, sales of QUANTUM(TM) were made in Mexico, with registration pending in the USA. Amylase for corn bioethanol is undergoing pilot trials, and U.S. registration dossiers have been submitted. Work on plant-produced pharmaceutical compounds progressed in 2005 to the stage of clinical trials; however, in view of the extended time lines and associated costs of full commercialization, it has been decided to seek third parties to take these projects through development to commercial launch. Resources released in R&D will be redirected to other businesses.



Outlook



CEO Pragnell said:
"2005 marked the fifth anniversary of Syngenta, and during the year, we further reinforced our leadership position with share gains in Crop Protection, expansion in Field Crop seeds and progress in our consumer-led businesses of Vegetables seeds and Professional Products.



"Looking ahead, the strength of the business and our exciting pipeline products enable us to plan additional expenditure in marketing and product development and, for the three years through 2008, target double-digit growth in earnings per share. In addition, the ongoing strength of our financial performance enables us to pursue our program of progressive cash return to shareholders whilst investing in future growth."



Syngenta is a world-leading agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. The company is a leader in crop protection, and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2005 were approximately $8.1 billion. Syngenta employs some 19,000 people in more than 90 countries.



SOURCE: Syngenta via PR Newswire.