Syngenta to sell seeds business as it moves to placate shareholders

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2015 - Syngenta today said it plans to divest its global vegetable seeds business and buy back $2 billion in shares as part of a plan to “accelerate shareholder value creations.”

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The announcement comes a week after the Swiss agribusiness and chemical giant rejected a $46 billion takeover by Monsanto, the world's biggest seedmaker, angering some shareholders and sparking an 18 percent decline in its share price last week.

“The Board and management are determined to accelerate shareholder value creation and our actions today underpin our commitment to do so,” Syngenta Chairman Michel Demaré said in a release. “Our commitment is also shown by the significant capital return program that we announced today.”

Syngenta said its “industry-leading, high margin seed business has a significant global footprint and a wide array of best-in-class varieties” and is expected to attract significant third-party interest. Last year the business had $663 million in sales.

The company also announced today its intention to return capital to shareholders through a share repurchase program. The initial program of more than $2 billion will start in coming weeks.

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