Syngenta Q1 2015: Robust performance in Europe and effective risk management in the CIS at $4.0 billion sales

  • Integrated sales up one percent at constant exchange rates
  • Reported sales impacted by currency; full year earnings guidance maintained
  • Robust performance in Europe: effective risk management in the CIS
  • Delayed start to North American season

BASEL, 17-4-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — Group sales of $4.0 billion including Lawn and Garden were unchanged at constant exchange rates compared with the first quarter of 2014. Reported sales were 14 percent lower, reflecting the strength of the dollar against the Euro and most other currencies, particularly in the CIS.

First quarter integrated sales by region

Integrated sales of $3.8 billion rose by one percent at constant exchange rates. Volumes were seven percent lower. Prices were eight percent higher, driven largely by increases in the CIS to offset the impact of currency depreciation; excluding the CIS and glyphosate, prices were up one percent.

Europe, Africa and the Middle East sales rose 15 percent at constant exchange rates with strong growth in crop protection offsetting weakness in seeds due to lower acreage for corn, sunflower and sugar beet in several territories. Sales excluding the CIS were two percent higher despite a difficult comparison with a strong first quarter in 2014. Central and North Europe and Iberia showed broad based growth in crop protection. In France, sales of selective herbicides were lower reflecting early orders in the fourth quarter of 2014, with other product lines broadly unchanged.  In the CIS currency losses were largely recovered through selling prices. In North America sales were 16 percent lower; excluding glyphosate, where a deliberate reduction is underway, sales were 13 percent lower. A prolonged winter delayed the start of the season in the USA and Seedcare was sharply down in Canada owing to high channel inventories. Seeds sales reflected an expected further reduction in corn acres, lower royalty income and changes in Syngenta’s distribution model to increase focus and profitability.

In Latin America sales at the end of the season were 11 percent lower following a strong fourth quarter in 2014. Credit management in Venezuela caused a delay in sales. Insecticides sales were down across the region as a result of low pest pressure. ELATUS™ fungicide continued to make a positive contribution as remaining orders were fulfilled. Corn seed sales in Brazil were lower due to reduced acreage. In Asia Pacific, sales in North East Asia were affected by phasing in Japan related to last year’s consumption tax increase.  Sales in China were lower due to the phasing out of liquid formulations of paraquat. The impact of lower rice acreage in Thailand was partially offset by further expansion of GroMore™ protocols in South Asia.

First quarter product line sales

Selective herbicides volume was slightly lower, with good growth in the CIS offset by phasing in France and a decline in North America due to the late season. In Non-selective herbicides,   the main factors were the planned reduction in TOUCHDOWN® and the discontinuation of GRAMOXONE® in China. Fungicides saw volume increases in most European territories with growth across the portfolio. In Latin America, growth was driven by both ELATUS™ and AMISTAR® Technology. Despite volume growth in Europe and Asia Pacific, total Insecticides sales were down due to diminished pest pressure in Latin America. In Seedcare, a volume reduction in Canada due to high channel inventories in the cereals market more than offset good growth in Central and North Europe.

In Seeds, Corn volumes were affected by an acreage decline and price increases in the CIS. In the USA, the expected reduction in acreage and lower royalty income also impacted sales.  Soybean sales were slightly higher. Diverse field crops experienced volume declines in the CIS, with a reduced market for high value hybrids.  Sales in South East Europe were delayed by cold and wet conditions. InVegetables, a solid performance in developed markets was offset by phasing in the emerging markets.

Lawn and Garden sales were down five percent with difficult market conditions persisting in the North American flowers business.

Mike Mack, Chief Executive Officer, said: “In an environment of currency and crop price volatility, we have demonstrated our ability to successfully manage risk, as evidenced by the substantial price increases achieved in the CIS. With the main North American season now underway, we are focused on maximizing the opportunity for our herbicide portfolio. Across the company we are firmly on track to achieve targeted cost savings from the implementation of our Accelerating Operational Leverage program. We are maintaining our full year targets of sales broadly unchanged at constant exchange rates and EBITDA, after the impact of currencies, around the 2014 level. We expect to generate substantial free cash flow.”

A presentation illustrating the first quarter 2015 sales will be available on by 07:30 (CET).

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Media contacts:

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Lars Oestergaard
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