UPDATE 1-Syngenta to pay $105 mln in herbicide settlement

Fri May 25, 2012 4:25am EDT

* Charge partially covered by provisions

* Impact on earnings around $0.50/share

* Shares fall 0.3 pct

ZURICH, May 25 (Reuters) - Swiss group Syngenta, the world's largest agrochemicals company, has agreed to pay $105 million to settle an eight-year legal wrangle in the United States related to one of its herbicides.

Syngenta, which makes products to kill weeds and pests as well as genetically modified seeds, said on Friday it had agreed to settle a dispute over the amount of its herbicide atrazine that had entered the water systems of several communities in the Midwest.

"The product is already highly regulated under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and this settlement does not change the safety evaluation of the product," spokeswoman Sarah Hull said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Syngenta denied liability.

Syngenta said the charge was partly covered by provisions and that it would take a hit of $0.50 per share against 2012 earnings.

"The settlement ends the business and legal expense uncertainty regarding the litigation case. This is welcome and the EPS impact is bearable," said Vontobel analyst Patrick Rafaisz.

Shares in Syngenta were trading down 0.3 percent by 0807 GMT, one of only three fallers in a 0.4 percent firmer European chemicals sector index.

The company said it would continue to market atrazine in the United States as part of its corn herbicide range.

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