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DuPont sees market gains for agriculture unit

* Reports 2 percentage point corn seed share gains in 2010

* Says soybean share gains 4 points in 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept 14 (Reuters) - DuPont DD.N is expanding market share in key agricultural sectors despite intense competition and expects continued growth as it rolls out new products for farmers, a company executive said on Tuesday.

“Despite all the competitive, economic or weather-related challenges, we anticipate delivering solid growth in 2010, growth which is going to outpace what we expect the competition to post,” DuPont Executive Vice President James Borel said in a presentation to a Credit Suisse investor conference.

Borel oversees DuPont’s Ag and Nutrition businesses, including corn and soybean seed developer Pioneer Hi-Bred. That business unit represents more than 30 percent overall DuPont sales and totaled $8.3 billion in sales in 2009.

Borel said both the company’s growing seed and crop protection businesses will help DuPont report greater than 15 percent top line growth in 2010 and deliver $1.7 billion in free cash flow.

DuPont has been battling key competitor Monsanto MON.N for leadership in sales of corn and soybean seeds, and made significant strides this year as Monsanto struggled with disappointing results for some of its products and farmer rebellion against high seed prices.

Borel said that despite intense competition, DuPont will post the second year of solid market share gains in North American corn and soybean seed sales.

“It is lining up to be a very good year in our seed business,” he said.

According to preliminary estimates, DuPont will see a 2 percentage point share gain this year for corn, on top of a 2 point gain in 2009. Industry estimates put DuPont’s market share for corn at about 34 percent, behind Monsanto’s 36 percent.

DuPont will see a 4 percentage point share gain in soybeans in 2010, on top of a 3 point gain in 2009 that leaves the company with about a 30 percent market share, according to company data. Industry estimates put Monsanto at about 29 percent.

Globally, the company is on track to report share gains of 1-2 percent in corn as it improves margins and increases prices, Borel said.

In 2011, the company plans to roll out more than 30 new genetic platforms that should deliver a seven bushel per acre average corn yield advantage against competitors, and a 2012 product line-up that the company sees delivering a 10 bu/acre yield advantage.

DuPont is also pushing for growth from its crop protection products, led by insecticide sales that are seen growing to more than $1 billion by 2013.

“We have big plans for this portfolio,” said Borel.

DuPont continues to invest heavily in research and development and in a sales force that this year totals an estimated 4,600, up from just 3,400 four years ago, he said.

DuPont shares were up 0.8 cent at $42.88 at mid morning. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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