* Q1 sales up 6 pct to $4.57 bln vs $4.56 bln forecast
* Says on track to meet 2020 goal of sales of $25 billion
* CEO unconcerned about recent fall in commodity prices
ZURICH, April 18 Syngenta AG, the
world's largest maker of crop chemicals, expects farmers to
continue to invest in products to boost agricultural output
despite a recent drop in commodity prices.
Concerns over global growth and weak demand have pressured
commodity prices in recent days, but Syngenta Chief Executive
Mike Mack he didn't see prices deterring investment.
"The liquidity for growers is pretty good, they're well
capitalized," Mack told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
"Right now these prices across the board continue to be
attractive for investing in crops."
Syngenta, which met first-quarter sales expectations, is
banking on innovation and a more integrated business that
supplies farmers with everything from seeds and pesticides to
fertilisers and support services to boost sales to $25 billion
by 2020, from $14.2 billion last year.
The Swiss company, which makes products to kill weeds and
bugs as well as genetically modified seeds, said sales rose 6
percent in the first quarter to $4.57 billion, helped by a
strong end to the Latin American planting season.
Analysts had on average forecast sales of $4.56 billion in a
Mack said he was confident the company remained on track to
achieve its long-term sales growth target of 8 percent per year,
despite freezing weather across Europe and North America
delaying the start of the planting season this year.
Spiraling prices for wheat, corn and soya bean have
encouraged farmers to buy more products from Syngenta and rivals
DuPont and Monsanto to help boost yields.
Monsanto raised its guidance earlier this month and said it
expects to sell a record amount of corn this year, after posting
a 15 percent jump in sales to $5.5 billion in the second
Syngenta said it expected the impact of currencies and
chemical raw materials to be neutral this year and to generate
"significant" free cash flow.