February 15, 2018 / 7:20 AM / a year ago

ChemChina's Syngenta sees modest sales growth in 2018

ZURICH, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Syngenta forecast modest sales growth in 2018 after turnover at the Swiss agricultural chemicals and seedmaker bought last year by ChemChina for $43 billion fell 1 percent to $12.65 billion.

"Farm economics continue (to be) very challenging because of low grain prices," Chief Executive Erik Fyrwald said in a statement. "For the full year 2018...we expect low-single-digit growth in sales and continued strong free cash flow generation.”

Excluding acquisitions and one-off outflows related to settling share-based equity plans following the ChemChina deal, its free cash flow in 2017 hit a record $1.7 billion and its core profit margin held steady at 21 percent before provisions for settling litigation over corn, it said.

Syngenta in September agreed to settle U.S. farmer lawsuits stemming from its decision to commercialise a genetically modified strain of corn before China approved importing it. A person familiar with the matter said the payment would be close to $1.5 billion.

Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by John Revill

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