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Last week, Switzerland based agricultural products company, Syngenta AG (SYT - Analyst Report) reported improved sales for its first quarter of 2013. Being a half yearly reporting company, all the financials of Syngenta were not announced.

Sales in the reported quarter increased 6.0% year over year to $4.6 billion. This was led by a rise in revenue across most regions, viz., Latin America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, which can be ascribed to Syngenta’s obtaining a leadership position in these regions. Moreover, increased prices in both Crop Protection and Seeds business segments added to the improvement.

Undeterred by a prolonged winter, Syngenta proceeded on its growth trajectory in North America where sales soared by 6.0% to $1.3 billion; sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East increased by 10.0% to $1.9 billion, led by new product launches and sales of those products that were delayed in the last quarter.

Sales in the Asia Pacific region grew due to good business in Thailand, Indonesia and Bangladesh. However, this was offset by a decline in Australian sales which suffered because of severe weather conditions, resulting in 1% year-over-year decline in sales to $525.0 million. Business in Latin America improved by 14.0% to $568.0 million largely due to the fungicides and insecticides sales.

Sales in Crop Protection went up 9.0% year-over-year to $3.1 billion with a 16.0% rise in the Latin American region. Seeds grew by 5.0% year-over-year to $1.3 billion with a 20.0% increase in the Asia Pacific region.

Syngenta received an approval for its rootworm control technology Agrisure Duracade in the reported quarter, and is expected to launch the same in 2014. Syngenta maintains a long-term sales growth target of 8.0%, which it expects to be hurt by higher seed production costs.

Syngenta currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other agricultural chemicals companies worth a look are Monsanto Company (MON - Analyst Report), The Andersons, Inc. (ANDE - Analyst Report) and CVR Partners, LP (UAN - Snapshot Report); each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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