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Syngenta focused on growth despite ChemChina distraction: CEO

Syngenta has not taken its eye off the ball amid ongoing discussions with regulators over its $43 billion takeover by ChemChina, the chief executive of the Swiss agrichemicals giant told CNBC after the company reported sales and profit that missed expectations.

"Right now we're focused on only two things – our performance in the marketplace, our focus on customers...and growing our company. The second (thing) is to get the ChemChina deal done," Erik Fyrwald told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box."

Syngenta still expects the ChemChina takeover to be completed by the end of 2016 although the deal has been delayed due to concerns among competition regulators. Fyrwald said a small team was continuously working on the deal and hoped it would be closed by the end of the year, however.

"We have had very constructive dialogues with the regulators around the world and those reinforce our confidence that we will get the deal closed by the end of the year and head into 2017 with full focus to drive our performance," he said.

On Friday, the firm reported sales that fell short of analyst forecasts, and warned that in the short term, the industry continued to see tough market conditions.

The logo of Swiss agrochemicals maker Syngenta adorns it's plant in Muenchwilen, Switzerland.
Arnd Wiegmann | Reuters
The logo of Swiss agrochemicals maker Syngenta adorns it's plant in Muenchwilen, Switzerland.

Sales for the first half of the year came in at $7.09 billion. A Reuters consensus poll forecast a figure of 7.224 billion.

Group sales for the year are expected to be slightly below last year at constant exchange rates, while reported sales are likely to show a mid- to single-digit decline, the group said.

Group net profit for the first half was down 13 percent at $1.06 billion, below the $1.28 billion forecast by analysts.

Fyrwald said the company had seen tough trading conditions in the first half of the year but expected an improvement going forward.

"The biggest issues in the first half were the low crop prices which continue but also we had severe weather conditions in Asia-Pacific, severe drought in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines and horrendous rains in Europe that continued for much of the first half."

"(Weather) conditions have improved now and we expect strong growth in both Asia and Europe in the second half and significantly improved earnings in the second half too. I can tell you that me and my team are very focused on making sure that that happens."

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