Positive Picture For Ag Sector

Want to know about the state of agriculture during this economic crisis? Check out these recent reports on several crop protection/seed companies.

• Syngenta: Seeds, Ag Chemicals Boost Sales
Syngenta reported global sales in the third quarter of 2008 increased by 28 percent at constant exchange rates (CER). Reported sales were 33 percent higher at $2.3 billion. In the first nine months of the year sales were up 22 percent (CER) to $9.6 billion.

In the crop protection sector, third quarter sales were 26 percent higher (CER), with volume growth of 12 percent and price realization, including glyphosate, ahead of target at 14 percent. In NAFTA, the growth rate increased significantly driven by the expansion of the corn fungicide market and strong herbicide demand.

Seeds sales increased by 41 percent (CER) in the quarter. Sales of corn and soybean more than doubled, with lower returns in the U.S. and excellent growth in Brazil, where both crops benefited from expanding demand and an enhanced offer.

Syngenta’s target for earnings per share growth is the high teens in 2009.

(Source: Wire Services)

• Monsanto: Standard & Poor Raises Ratings
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said Oct. 21 that it raised its long-term ratings on Monsanto Co. because of the seed and herbicide maker’s solid market position, strong demand for its products, and high research and development spending.

Standard & Poor’s increased the ratings on Monsanto, the world’s largest seed maker, to ‘A+’ from ‘A.’ It also affirmed the St. Louis-based company’s ‘A-1’ short-term ratings. All of the ratings are investment grade.

The ratings agency said the outlook for Monsanto is "Stable," though the service said the manufacturer is less diversified than most comparably rated companies and must rely on the cyclical global agricultural economy.

Standard & Poor’s said Monsanto has been helped by an "impressive pipeline" of new products that should bolster future earnings and cash flow. The agency said it believes opposition to genetically modified foods is less of a threat as acceptance becomes more widespread and "no health problems have emerged."

Earlier this month, Monsanto reported that its net loss narrowed to $172 million as sales rose 35 percent in its fourth fiscal quarter, generally a losing quarter for the company because of seasonal seed sales.

(Source: AP)

• Dow AgroSciences: Adds 350 Jobs Globally In 2008
Dow AgroSciences has created 350 new positions globally in 2008 as a business advancing new technology in the growing global agricultural marketplace.

These jobs are being added around the world to forward the company’s research and development work as well as to produce and commercialize its new products. More than half of the jobs were added at the global headquarters in Indianapolis. In addition, the company is expanding its workforce through employees added via acquisition, with seven seed companies being acquired in the last year.

The company’s success in 2008 underscores the need for an expanded workforce, and the company expects to continue hiring in 2009. Dow AgroSciences set a new first half record for both sales and earnings before interest and taxes. Numerous collaborations and research milestones have also been announced.

(Source: Dow AgroSciences)

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