Swiss agrichemicals group Syngenta plans to sell its vegetable seeds business and buy back more than $2 billion worth of stock in a campaign to boost shareholder returns after it rejected a takeover approach from Monsanto.
After Thursday's announcement, Mike Mack, the CEO of the Swiss company, told CNBC that the market did not appreciate the "intrinsic worth of Syngenta and its underlying assets."
"Right now there is an opportunity to return some cash to shareholders…Quite frankly what they are asking for is what we gave them this morning," he said from Syngenta's headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.
The company expressed confidence in its 2018 margin target of 24-26 percent and reiterated the full-year guidance for 2015 it gave in July.
It said its "initial program" of share repurchases would commence in the weeks ahead. "This will be in addition to the progressive dividend policy which the company has followed for several years," Syngenta said in a statement on Thursday.
Syngenta management had faced pressure to offer tangible rewards to shareholders after the pesticides company turned its back on a deal with unwanted U.S. suitor Monsanto worth around $47 billion.
With no alternative bidder seen on the horizon, analysts had speculated that the company could buy back shares as a short-term measure to help win back investor confidence.
Syngenta Chairman Michel Demare had promised a thorough review of its product lineup after spurning the Monsanto approach.
But Mack took a tough line on Thursday with those carping about the rejected approach.
"The business of reopening any conversation with Monsanto is not what is on offer today," he told CNBC.
"All you have to do is look at the deal landscape over the last 10 years and there just hasn't been a lot of sellers…If shareholders are unhappy they get to press a button."