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                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Syngenta advancing GM wheat research in US
SOURCE: Reuters, by Carey Gillam
DATE:   Feb 24, 2003

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Syngenta advancing GM wheat research in US

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Syngenta AG is negotiating with several U.S.
universities for help in work on a genetically modified wheat designed to
fight disease problems that cost U.S. farmers millions of dollars a year,
Syngenta's leading wheat biotech official said.

The GM wheat, Syngenta's first foray into that controversial arena, is
one that has been bred to be resistant to fusarium head blight, a fungal
disease that can have devastating consequences for farmers as well as
millers and bakers.

The Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta has been keeping its research work
quiet but is now moving into a new phase of advanced research and
development that could lead to a product on the market as early as 2007,
said John Bloomer, Syngenta's global head of cereal seeds and traits in
an interview with Reuters.

"There is a natural pull for this technology," Bloomer said.

Syngenta has recently started negotiations with North Dakota State
University as well as universities in South Dakota and Minnesota. The
company sees scab as a global problem but expects to launch its scab-
resistant wheat in the U.S. first, said Bloomer. Field trials are
currently underway in the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, and

"This project is moving from research into development," said Bloomer.
"We've got a gene that has an effect and we're looking at how it works in
the field. We're doing more and more field trials. We still have a few
years of technical work to do."

Bloomer said U.S. and Canadian spring wheat areas, particularly some
northeastern areas of North Dakota, suffer greatly from cool moist
conditions that foster fusarium problems. Northern soft red winter
markets are also affected.

Around the world, fusarium cuts into wheat yield and quality in areas of
Europe, Latin America, China and parts of Australia, Bloomer said.
Finding an answer to that problem in a scab-resistant wheat would be a
significant accomplishment, he said, citing research that showed U.S.
farmers have suffered $3 billion in economic losses due to scab since 1990.

Research cited by the North Dakota Grain Growers estimated losses in that
state alone of $870 million over three years.

Because fusarium reduces the quality of the wheat as well as the overall
yield, the benefits could move up the food chain to millers and bakers,
Bloomer said.

Farmers appear to be eager to embrace the new wheat.

A scab-resistant wheat "has a lot of market appeal," said Larry Lee, a
spring wheat and durum grower in North Dakota.

"It would improve quality of wheat and have some huge benefits for the
end users."

Syngenta competitor Monsanto Co. (MON.N) has been developing a
genetically modified wheat of its own, one that is resistant to
herbicides - like its own Roundup - and can thus ease weed control for

Monsanto is in the final stages of getting regulatory approval for its
product, Roundup Ready wheat, with an initial launch planned for the U.S.
and Canada. Roundup Ready wheat would be the first-ever GM wheat marketed.

However, market acceptance issues have been problematic, as foreign
buyers of U.S. wheat have expressed strong opposition to the industry's
moves to genetically modify wheat.

While genetically modified corn and soybeans are widely planted in the
U.S. and elsewhere, GM wheat has yet to see the type of market acceptance
that encourages a launch.

Bruce Freitag, president of North Dakota Grain Growers, said Syngenta's
GM wheat could help overcome opposition.

"There is more interest in a scab-resistant wheat than in herbicide
resistant," Freitag said. "It is something that a lot of producers have
problems with and something that could have a strong economic benefit.
Even importing companies that have an aversion to GM wheat may take a
second look if they can get a better quality wheat."

Syngenta's Bloomer said his company was monitoring Monsanto's efforts and
expected the launch of Roundup Ready wheat could have an impact on how
scab-resistant GM wheat is handled.

"We are not arrogant enough to say we've got the GM wheat issue licked,"
said Bloomer. "We have interactions with universities, grower groups,
wheat industry groups and the milling and baking industry on this. We
believe we've got a network of allies."

                                  PART II
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TITLE:  Syngenta shares hit by cautious 2003 outlook
SOURCE: Financial Times, UK, by David Firn
DATE:   Feb 20, 2003

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Syngenta shares hit by cautious 2003 outlook

Syngenta, the world's largest agrochemicals concern, reported its first
loss since its creation three years ago after larger-than-expected
exceptional charges. [Advertisement]

Despite a strong underlying performance the Anglo-Swiss company also gave
a cautious outlook for 2003.

Michael Pragnell, chief executive, said Syngenta would not achieve its
target of a 25 per cent operating profit margin until there was an upturn
in agriculture.

The farming sector has been in the doldrums for several years. Several
years of bumper crops have depressed commodity crop prices, cutting the
amount farmers are prepared to spend on agrochemicals.

Analysts at CSFB recently said high crop prices at the end of last year
boded well for the agrochemicals sector, but Mr Pragnell said the upturn
remained elusive.

"This year we have seen appalling weather on both sides of the Atlantic
that has delayed planting", he said.

Despite the poor trading environment, merger-related cost savings and the
withdrawal of older product lines would result in margin improvements.

"There's a short-term cost-to-top line growth associated with that, but
it means we have a better quality portfolio in terms of growth and
working capital," Mr Pragnell said.

Mr Pragnell said the company was also preparing to launch the first of a
new generation of genetically-modified products later this year. Syngenta
has applied for US approval to market an enzyme that makes animal feed
crops easier to digest.

Syngenta has kept a low profile on the issue of GM crops, by comparison
with its vociferous US rival Monsanto. But it has been quietly working on
the next generation of products.

Existing GM products offer so-called 'input traits' such as herbicide
resitance, which benefit farmers but offer no obvious benefit to consumers.

Mr Pragnell said adding GM phytase enzymes to animal feed would cut the
growing problem of pollution from animal waste, by making the fodder more
digestable. "It is a $200m market in the US and we expect to have a big
piece of that market," he said.

The Anglo-Swiss group reported a net loss of $27m - compared with a
profit of $34m last year - after merger charges, asset writedowns and
extra pension provisions of $396m. Underlying performance was at the top
end of analysts' forecasts, with pre-tax profits up 21 per cent to
SFr445m ($325.3m) before exceptional charges. Sales were down 2 per cent
to $6.2bn. The operating margin grew 0.8 percentage points to 18.6 per cent.

Growth in new higher-margin products and the decline in the dollar
against the euro offset falling seed volumes and higher debt servicing

"Despite this and $396m in exceptional items, cash flow remains strong at
$500m and debt levels have continued to decline," said Zac Phillips,
analyst at E Trade Securities.

Mr Pragnell said cost savings, which are projected to reach $625m by
2005, were ahead of schedule at $362m-a-year. "I really think we can say
the merger is behind us," he said. "When the cost savings are exhausted
the biotechnology pipeline will be coming through and the next generation
of crop protection products will be coming through," he said.

However, some analysts believe Syngenta, which was formed from the
agrochemical assets of AstraZeneca and Novartis, may be forced to acquire
a rival if the farming market fails to recover by the time it has
exhausted its cost savings.

Syngenta shares were down 8per cent at SFr72.95 in afternoon trading.