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China soy bean demand to boost growth: Syngenta CEO

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 | 12:50 AM ET
Syngenta not worried about Chinese slowdown: CEO
Mike Mack, CEO of Syngenta, comments on quarterly earnings and highlights the strong underlying sales growth, the growth investments and how a Chinese slowdown is unlikely to impact the group.

Seeds and pesticides maker Syngenta reported sales for the second half of 2013 below analysts' forecasts due to bad weather, but the chief executive of the company told CNBC it could still achieve its ambitious long-term sales target thanks to strong growth in Latin America.

Shares of the company fell 3.55 percent after it reported first half net profit of $1.4 billion, versus a forecast of $1.46 billion according to a Reuters poll. Sales in the first half of 2013 were $8.39 billion, below a forecast of $8.64 billion.

CEO Mike Mack said the sales figures missed forecasts because of adverse weather in Europe and said demand for Syngenta's products remained strong.

"The world continues to need the technology that Syngenta brings," Mack told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "Demand for our products remains strong."

Demand from China for soy beans from Latin America was strong, Mack said, helping boost company sales in Latin America.

"Syngenta's big play in China presently is the amount of sales we have in Latin America, a lot of soy beans get shipped from Brazil and Argentina to power up the growing Chinese diet so that's easily the biggest part of Syngenta's business," he said.

"There's nothing that suggests to us that a [slowdown] in the Chinese economy is going to drive any change in the Chinese diet."

Syngenta expects double digit growth in emerging markets such as Latin America and Asia Pacific.

Underlying sales grew by 7 percent in the first half of the year, Mack said, despite a tough spring and a late start to the planting season.

Syngenta is the world's largest agrochemicals maker and sells products to kill weeds and bugs as well as genetically modified seeds. It said it was confident it could achieve 2020 sales target of $25 billion.

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