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Syngenta's first quarter sales jump 14%

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Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) said Friday that first quarter reported revenue rose 14% year-over-year, as the company benefited from food price inflation, allowing it to charge more for seeds and crop protection products.

For the first three months of 2011, sales of one of the world's largest agrochemical companies were $4.02 billion, compared to $3.53 billion in the year-ago period, far surpassing analyst estimates. At constant exchange rates, sales were up 13%.

"We have made rapid progress in the implementation of our new commercial strategy, which is building on the combined strength of our crop protection and seeds businesses to develop a fully integrated offer on a global crop basis," said CEO Mike Mack.

The company saw strong growth from emerging markets, with sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East rising by 20%. Specifically, Eastern Europe rebounded from difficult conditions in the second half of last year with increased demand for crop protection products and high value sunflower seeds.

In North America, sales increased by 6%, reflecting strong sales in the seeds unit. Latin America saw revenue jump by 16% driven by sales of fungicides, insecticides and corn seed, while sales in the Asia Pacific rose by 6%.

The company, which had previously been under pressure in the US from price cuts in 2009, said that volumes are now picking up in the region, compensating for lower prices.

Syngenta shares were up nearly 1.5% in the first hour of trading on Friday, at $68.42.

Quick facts: Syngenta AG (ADR)

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NYSE:SYT
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