Syngenta flags hit to full-year earnings from weak currencies

ZURICH, April 16 Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:14am EDT

ZURICH, April 16 (Reuters) - Syngenta AG, the world's largest maker of crop chemicals, expects weak currencies in emerging markets to have a bigger impact on full year earnings, as it posted a 2 percent rise in first quarter sales.

While unseasonably mild weather in Europe, Africa and the Middle East helped sales grow 10 percent in the region, the arctic conditions across the Atlantic delayed the start of the planting season in North America, where sales fell 7 percent.

Adverse currency moves knocked 3 percent off quarterly sales, which rose to $4.7 billion, in line with the average forecast in a Reuters poll.

For 2014, Syngenta expects integrated sales to grow 6 percent at constant exchange rates. The company confirmed its full-year guidance for an increase in gross margins and $1.5 billion in free cash flow. (Reporting by Caroline Copley)

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