Switzerland-based agricultural products company, Syngenta AG (SYT), reported improved year-over-year sales for third-quarter 2013. Sales in the reported quarter increased 8% year over year to $2.9 billion. This was led by a rise in revenues across all the regions and especially Latin America which witnessed a year-over-year sales hike of 11%. However, on a constant currency basis, revenues were 11% higher than the year-ago quarter.
Revenues from NorthAmerica soared 9.0% to $503 million, due to pre-season demand for selective herbicides, which was, however, offset by wet conditions in the U.S. which kept a check on insect growth. Sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East increased 6% to $616 million, led by a demand spurt in Italy and Turkey.
Sales in the Asia Pacific region grew 2% year over year to $406 million due to increased demand in South Asia on the back of favorable weather. Apart from South Asia, sales in emerging markets also improved. Business in Latin America improved 11% year over year to $1.2 billion, largely due to the improvement in the soybean seed portfolio in Brazil.
On a reported basis, Crop Protection sales went up 8% year over year to $2.3 billion as sales grew 11% in the Latin American region. In the Crop Protection group, sales for new products roughly doubled year over year. Seeds sales also grew 8% year over year to $478 million as sales in North as well as Latin America grew 11%.
Syngenta expects the Latin American growth to continue in the fourth quarter of 2013 as well. The company expects underlying earnings per share in 2013 to be close to $19.70. Considering the present scenario, Syngenta aims to achieve earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin in the 22%–24% range.
Syngenta currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Other agricultural chemicals companies worth a look are Limoneira Company (LMNR), Ferro Corp. (FOE) and Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD). While Limoneira and Ferro carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Air Products & Chemicals carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).