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Syngenta Third-Quarter Sales Surge, Outlook Raised

Third-quarter sales at Syngenta, the world's biggest agrochemicals company, rose a better-than-forecast 21 percent to $1.71 billion due to strong sales in Latin America, and the company raised its outlook.

Shares in Syngenta, which makes products to fight weeds and fungi and develops seeds for genetically altered pest-resistant crops, traded 3.6 percent higher in early morning.

Syngenta's crop protection sales in Latin America rose 34 percent to $412 million in the third quarter. Seeds sales in Latin America were up 43 percent to $63 million.

The company is looking for small acquisitions in its seeds business, Chief Financial Officer John Ramsey told Reuters.

The company raised its 2007 forecast to "high teens" percentage growth in earnings per share (EPS), from a previous mid-teens growth in EPS.

The crop protection business had a tough 2006, but investors are hoping a recovery in agricultural markets this year will boost revenues.

Eleven analysts polled by Reuters had expected on average Syngenta, which competes with Bayer's CropScience and Monsanto , to post third-quarter sales of $1.54 billion.

Syngenta shares trade at about 18 times forecast 2008 earnings, behind Monsanto at a multiple of 36 for its 2007-2008 financial year, according to Reuters data.