- Integrated regional sales up 8 percent at constant exchange rates
- Continuing momentum, growth across all regions
- High grower profitability supporting ongoing technology adoption
In the first quarter of 2013 integrated sales increased by 8 percent at constant exchange rates, with volumes up 6 percent and prices 2 percent higher. Group sales including Lawn and Garden were up by 7 percent: excluding the impact of acquisitions and divestments in Lawn and Garden, group sales were up 8 percent. Reported sales were 6 percent higher at $4.6 billion.
Integrated regional sales
In Europe, Africa and the Middle East sales were up 10 percent driven in particular by the CIS, with further expansion of the product portfolio and higher acreage expectations for spring crops. Growth was also strong in South East Europe and in France, where new fungicide launches and corn and cereal herbicides played a key role. Sales in Italy and in some northern European countries were lower owing to cold wet weather which has delayed the start to the season. North America saw continuing strong growth in crop protection with sales up 14 percent despite a prolonged winter. Significant contributions came from the corn herbicide CALLISTO® and from VIBRANCE® seed care, which has recently been launched and achieved sales of more than $50 million in the quarter.
Latin America completed a strong season driven by Brazil, where fungicide sales were up by more than 30 percent and sales of insecticides also grew significantly owing to increased insect pressure in soybean and cotton. Crop protection sales for sugar cane expanded as technology adoption continues. In Asia Pacific, growth was concentrated in the emerging markets of ASEAN, more than offsetting another difficult season due to weather in Australasia. Seeds continued their growth trajectory led by corn, with strong demand for treated hybrids.
Product line sales
Double digit growth in Selective herbicides was led by corn herbicides and by AXIAL® on cereals, notably in France. Non-selective herbicides rebounded from a weak first quarter in 2012 largely due to TOUCHDOWN® which saw significant volume and price advances. Growth in Fungicides was more moderate, with strength in Brazil, France and the CIS partly offset by adverse weather in some countries and by lower US sales. SEGURIS® was successfully launched in Central Europe having received full EU regulatory approval in 2012. Growth in Insecticides was driven in Brazil by ACTARA® and in the USA by FORCE®, which continued to demonstrate its value as part of integrated corn rootworm management programs. Seed care sales increased by more than 20 percent led by the successful launch of VIBRANCE®; CRUISER® continued its expansion in emerging markets with strong growth in both Latin America and Asia Pacific.
In Corn and soybean seeds, sales expanded rapidly in the CIS and in Asia Pacific. North American corn sales excluding the impact of lower licensing income were broadly flat following a strong fourth quarter performance in 2012. Soybean sales were slightly lower as a late spring delayed purchasing. In Diverse field crops strong growth in sunflower, notably in Eastern Europe, more than offset a significant decline in sugar beet reflecting lower acreage in Europe and the USA. Vegetables continued the upturn evident at the end of 2012, with a more positive environment for growers in the Americas and Asia Pacific.
Lawn and Garden
Lawn and Garden sales of $200 million reflected the impact of divestments which will significantly improve the profitability of the business. Excluding both acquisitions and divestments sales were unchanged.
Mike Mack, Chief Executive Officer, said:
"Business momentum was sustained in the first quarter of 2013 despite adverse weather in March delaying northern hemisphere plantings. Farmer sentiment remains strong and we will continue to drive innovative offers through a commercial organization which is now fully integrated in all territories. For the full year, we expect the impact of currencies and chemical raw materials to be broadly neutral and cost efficiencies to help offset lower licensing income and higher production costs in seeds. We also expect to generate significant free cash flow and sales growth in line with the target for our eight key crops of $25 billion in 2020."
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