Crop Protection Forecasts Mixed

Recent press releases from three major crop protection manufacturers — Syngenta, DuPont Co., and Dow AgroSciences — contain news of varying degrees of growth and profits.

Syngenta Hits Record ’08 Sales

Syngenta reported record sales and earnings growth for 2008 worldwide. Overall sales were $11.6 billion, up 21 percent, helped by a 22 percent increase in crop protection sales and a 16 percent increase in seed sales. Crop protection sales totaled $9.2 billion and seed sales rached $2.4 billion for the year.

For the first time, fungicides were Syngenta’s largest product line, led by AMISTAR for which sales reached $1 billion worldwide. Syngenta’s global crop protection lineup gained market share for the fourth straight year; its Touchdown herbicide was one one of those gaining market share. On the seed side, the company’s proprietary Agrisure 3000 GT triple-stack seed was successfully launched in the U.S. and its first corn pipeline trait, Agrisure Viptera, received EPA approval in December.

The manufacturer expects their seed treatments, including the new Avicta on corn, to help drive more growth in 2009. Syngenta has a strategic alliance with Rohm & Haas to develop and commercialize INVINSA technology as a unique product for crop stress protection in field crops, and will also prepare regulatory studies jointly with DuPont for DuPont’s Cyazypyr, a new broadspectrum insecticide with significant potential for combination with Syngenta’s own products. A pipeline of corn and soybean traits is highly anticipated by the company.

“In 2008, buoyant agricultural markets demonstrated the central role of technology in an ongoing drive to raise yields. Syngenta capitalized on the favorable environment, reinforcing our global leadership position,” says CEO Mike Mack. “In 2009, early signs for the northern hemisphere season are encouraging and we are well placed again to outperform the overall market, enabling us to continue targeting growth in earnings per share in 2009 despite economic uncertainty.”

DuPont Lowers 2009 Forecast; Ag Still Strong

U.S.-based chemical maker DuPont Co. reported a $629 million loss for the fourth-quarter 2008. A $380 million restructuring program accounted for most of DuPont’s loss for the quarter, compared with a profit of $545 million a year before. Full-year 2008 earnings were $2 billion, down from $2.9 billion in 2007. Fourth quarter net sales fell 17 percent to $5.8 billion from $6.98 billion, as the company reported a 20 percent decline in volume. Higher prices in all regions and across all business segments were more than offset by volume declines and negative currency effects, reports the Associated Press.

DuPont will make further cuts to its contractor work force, which already involved releasing 4,000 contractors by the end of 2008; it planned to carve a total of 8,000 contractors from its rolls by the end of January. The company previously cut 2,500 jobs, and will be eliminating merit salary increases this year and cutting work schedules for some employees, according to CEO Ellen Kullman "We’re attacking costs and expenses aggressively," Kullman said, adding that the benefits of the restructuring will be seen in the second half of the year.

While DuPont expects weak market conditions to continue throughout the year, Kullman said she is confident that DuPont will emerge from the current economic turmoil "stronger, leaner and more agile, and better poised for growth." The company said it expects very weak global demand for first quarter of 2009 in most key markets — excluding agriculture, which Kullman described as "the bright spot on the first-quarter volume horizon."

Jim Borel, group vice president in charge of DuPont’s agricultural businesses, said he expects continued volume growth in North American seed markets, and DuPont expects to continue "an appropriate level of spending" for high-growth, high-margin businesses, which includes seed products.

Ag Only Bright Spot For Dow

Dow AgroSciences set a fourth-quarter sales record of $885 million, 2 percent higher than the same quarter last year. Dow AgroSciences reported that its full-year sales grew 20 percent to $4.5 billion, reflecting an 8 percent increase in volume and a 12 percent increase in price.

This marked the 10th consecutive quarter that Dow AgroSciences has recorded a sales record vs. the comparative period of the prior year. Volume declined 4 percent, but price rose 6 percent. Price was up in all geographic areas except Asia Pacific, while both price and volume rose in North America.

Seed sales increased vs. the same quarter last year, led by U.S. corn sales and sunflower sales in Latin America. Sales of agricultural chemicals declined due to product shortages and lack of available credit for growers in some regions.

Its agriculture division was a bright spot for the company. The economic recession dropped demand for plastic and industrial products, resulting in Dow Chemical Co.’s first net loss in six years, according to Bloomberg.com. The loss of US $1.55 billion contrasts with a net income of $472 million a year earlier for the Michigan-based chemical company.

CEO Andrew Liveris announced that Dow will be closing factories and cutting jobs to cope with a global recession, which he predicts could last all year. In December, Dow said it will eliminate about 5,000 jobs, or 11 percent of the global workforce, permanently closing 20 facilities and idling 180 plants. Dow’s contractor workforce is being cut by 6,000 globally. Dow ran its plants at 44 percent capacity in December – its lowest ever – and at 64 percent for the total fourth quarter.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina Nearing Deal To Buy Syngenta For Record $43 B…
February 3, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 Read More
Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide…
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Potash storage at Growmark
FertilizerThe Phosphate And Potash Outlook For 2016
February 2, 2016
Like other commodities, prices of the leading plant nutrient products dropped sharply in 2015. At this writing, the price of Read More