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Syngenta Buys 90% of Golden Harvest

(Sunday, June 27, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- MoneyWise, 06/25/04:
Syngenta continues to expand in the U.S. seed market, announcing an agreement to acquire a 90 percent stake in the Golden Harvest group of companies for $180 million including expected balance sheet adjustments. The group, which had combined seeds sales of $167 million in 2003, is valued at $200 million. The current owners will retain a 10 percent stake.

The acquisition of Golden Harvest, which has a U.S. market share of 4 percent in corn and 3 percent in soybean, together with the recently announced acquisition of Advanta's Garst business, will take Syngenta's share of these markets to 15 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. This further expands the platform from which to introduce its range of biotech input traits from 2005.

Michael Pragnell, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta, commented: "This acquisition marks the completion of our strategy to develop critical mass in the U.S. corn and soybean seeds market, complementing our leading position in crop protection." He added: "We look forward to welcoming the highly successful and respected Golden Harvest organization to Syngenta and are delighted that senior management will remain, ensuring continuity of service to customers."

Jim Sommer, President, Sommer Bros. Seed Co. and Rob Robinson, Executive Vice President, JC Robinson Seeds, Inc. have been appointed joint operating heads of the Golden Harvest business. Jim Sommer said: "We are pleased that, together with Syngenta, we can continue the rich history of Golden Harvest." Rob Robinson added: "Syngenta's growing line-up of traits and breeding and germplasm assets were critical in selecting a partner for Golden Harvest."

Completion of the acquisition is expected before the end of the third quarter 2004.

Just last month, Syngenta announced it had agreed to purchase Iowa based Garst Seeds.

For the full year 2004, as announced on 27 April, robust sales are expected to result in earnings per sharegrowth of more than 30 percent.

Syngenta is a world-leading agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. The company is a leader in crop protection, and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2003 were approximately $6.6 billion. Syngenta employs some 19,000 people in over 90 countries. Syngenta is listed on the Swiss stock exchange (SYNN) and in New York (SYT). Further information is available at http://www.syngenta.com.

Golden Harvest is the largest independently owned seed brand in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing agricultural seed brands. Golden Harvest brand of hybrid corn, soybeans, sorghum and alfalfa is produced and marketed by five family-owned and managed seed companies serving farmers throughout the U.S. Corn Belt, Europe, South America, and Canada. These five companies share research and marketing resources nationally, while continuing to offer nearby service that is at the heart of the seed industry.