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Syngenta AG
Type Aktiengesellschaft
Industry Chemicals
Founded 2000
Headquarters Basel, Switzerland
Key people Michel Demaré (Chairman)
Michael Mack (CEO)
Products Pesticides, seeds, flowers
Revenue Increase US $14.688 billion (2013)[1]
Operating income Decrease US $2.086 billion (2013)[1]
Profit Decrease US $1.649 billion (2013)[1]
Total assets Increase US $20.22 billion (end 2013)[1]
Total equity Increase US $9.504 billion (end 2013)[1]
Employees 28,150 (end 2013)[1]
Website syngenta.com

Syngenta AG is a global Swiss agribusiness that markets seeds and agrochemicals. Syngenta is involved in biotechnology and genomic research. It was formed in 2000 by the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals. The company was ranked third in total seeds and biotechnology sales in 2009 in the commercial market.[2] Sales in 2013 were approximately US$ 14.7 billion. Syngenta employs over 28,000 people in over 90 countries. Over half of the sales are in Emerging Markets.[1] Syngenta is listed on both the Swiss stock exchange and in New York.[1]


Syngenta headquarters in Basel

Based in Basel, Switzerland, Syngenta was formed in 2000 by the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals.[3][4] Its roots are considerably older.

Novartis was formed of the 1995 merger of the three Swiss companies:[5] Geigy, which has roots back to 1758;[6] Sandoz Laboratories which was founded in 1876;[citation needed] and Ciba, founded in 1884.[7] Ciba and Geigy had merged in 1971 and had concentrated mainly on crop protection in its agro division,[citation needed] Sandoz more on seeds.[citation needed]

Syngenta works in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire originally owned by ICI.

Zeneca Agrochemicals was part of AstraZeneca, and formerly of Imperial Chemical Industries. ICI was formed in the UK in 1926. Two years later, work began at the Agricultural Research Station at Jealotts Hill near Bracknell.[8]

In 2004, Syngenta Seeds purchased Garst, the North American corn and soybean business of Advanta, as well as Golden Harvest Seeds.[9][10] On December 5, 2004, the European Union ended a six-year moratorium when it approved imports of two varieties of genetically modified corn sold by Monsanto and its Swiss rival, Syngenta.[11]

In 2005, Syngenta opposed a Swiss ban on genetically engineered organisms.[12] On November 28, 2005, Switzerland enacted a five-year ban on the farming of genetically modified crops, underscoring the problems facing the European Commission and biotech companies like Syngenta, Bayer and Monsanto as they try to overcome consumer doubts about safety.[13]

In 2007, Syngenta's Canadian division was named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, as published in Maclean's magazine, one of only a handful of agribusiness firms to receive this honour.[14]

Syngenta finances the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. This non-profit organization supports sustainable food security projects in a number of countries.[15]

Some of Syngenta's main competitors are Monsanto Company, BASF, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer CropScience and DuPont Pioneer.[16]


Syngenta has eight primary product lines.[1] The company develops, markets and sells these worldwide:



  • Corn and Soya
  • Other Field Crops
  • Vegetables

Syngenta's field crops include both hybrid seeds and genetically engineered seeds, some of which enter the food chain and become part of genetically modified food. According to Syngenta, in the US their "proprietary triple stack corn seeds expanded to represent around 25 percent of units sold." [17] In 2010 the US EPA granted registration approval for insecticidal trait stacks including Syngenta's AGRISURE VIPTERA™ gene, which offers resistance to certain corn pests.[17] Syngenta also cross-licenses its proprietary genes with Dow AgroSciences and thus is able to include Dow's Herculex®1 I and Herculex® RW insect resistance traits in its seeds.[17] It also sells a VMAX® soybean that is resistant to glyphosate herbicide.[17]

In 2013, Syngenta sales from crop protection products accounted for US $ 10.923 billion, i.e. 74% of total sales.[1]

Key Syngenta brands include Actara, Agrisure, Alto, Amistar (azoxystrobin), Avicta, Axial, Bicep II, Bravo, Callisto, Celest, Cruiser (TMX, Thiamethoxam), Dividend, Dual, Durivo, Elatus, Fusilade, Force, Golden Harvest, Gramoxon, Hilleshoeg, Karate, Northrup-King (NK), Proclaim, Revus, Ridomil, Rogers, Score, Seguris, S&G, Tilt, Topik, Touchdown, Vertimec, Vibrance.[1]


Like many ag-companies, Syngenta also works in the bio-fuel space. In 2011, it announced the corn trait ENOGEN to reduce substantially the consumption of water and energy versus conventional corn.[18] Several ethanol producers plan to process such improved corn.[1]For example, Syngenta has signed a commercial agreement with Three Rivers Energy, LLC of Coshocton, Ohio, US to use grain featuring Enogen trait technology following the 2014 corn harvest.[19]

In 2007, Queensland University in Australia contracted with Syngenta to research different inputs for biofuels as a renewable energy source.[20]

Board of directors[edit]

Syngenta is led by Chairman Michel Demaré. The other Directors are Vinita Bali, Stefan Borgas, Gunnar Brock, David Lawrence, Michael Mack (CEO), Eleni Gabre-Madhin, Eveline Saupper, Jacques Vincent, and Jürg Witmer[1]

Current products[edit]

A series of fatalities due to accidental consumption of the company’s herbicide Gramoxone (Paraquat) occurred in the 1960s. Because the product was used in a number of suicides during the 1970s and 1980s, blue dye, foul odor, and a powerful emetic were added to discourage misuse.[21]

Atrazine has been banned in the European Union.[22] There has been controversy over atrazine's effects on amphibians[22] but the EPA has concluded "that atrazine does not adversely affect amphibian gonadal development".[23] Research published by Tyrone Hayes and other scientists was used as evidence in a class action lawsuit against Syngenta by 15 water providers in Illinois that was settled for 105 million dollars in May 2012, which reimbursed more than 1,000 water systems for the costs of filtering atrazine from drinking water, although the company denies any wrongdoing.[22]

The European Commission decided to suspend use of the company's insecticide Cruiser (TMX, Thiamethoxam) on crops pollinated by bees.[24] Syngenta together with Bayer is challenging this ban in court. [25]

Former products[edit]

Syngenta's predecessor, Ciba-Geigy, introduced the insecticide Galecron chlordimeform in 1966, and it was removed from the market in 1988.[26] In 1976, Ciba-Geigy told regulatory authorities that it was temporarily withdrawing chlordimeform because ongoing long-term toxicology studies - particularly studies to determine if long-term exposure could cause cancer - showed that it was causing cancer, and that it has already started to monitor its workers' exposure and had found chlordimeform and its metabolites in the urine of its workers.[27]:8–9 Ciba-Geigy then applied for, and was granted, permission to market Galecron at lower doses for use only on cotton.[28] However as further long term monitoring data was obtained, regulators banned chlordimeform in 1988. In a 1995 class action in the US, Ciba-Geigy agreed to cover costs for employee health monitoring and treatment. In 2005, Syngenta reported that employee health monitoring was continuing at the company's Monthey, Switzerland site [29]


In 2001, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled in favor of Syngenta when the company filed a suit against Bayer to protect its patent on a class of neonicotinoid insecticides.

The following year Syngenta filed suits against Monsanto and a number of other companies claiming infringement of its U.S. biotechnology patents covering genetically modified corn and cotton. In 2004, the company again filed a suit against Monsanto, claiming antitrust violations related to the U.S. biotech corn seed market, and Monsanto countersued. Monsanto and Syngenta settled all the litigation in 2008.[30]

Syngenta was defendant in a class action lawsuit concerning the adverse effects of Atrazine in human water supplies. The suit was settled for $105,000,000 in May 2012.[31][32][33] A similar case involving six states is currently in federal court.[34][35]


On 21 October 2007, a Brazilian peasant organization, the Landless Workers' Movement (Portuguese: Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - MST), led a group of landless farmers in an occupation of one of the company's seed research farms, in protest against genetically-engineered ("genetically modified") vegetables and in hopes of obtaining land for landless families to cultivate. After the occupation had begun, a team from NF Security arrived in a minibus and a fight with gunfire ensued. A protestor and a security guard were killed, and some protesters and security guards were wounded.[36]

The Brazilian police investigation completed in November 2007 blamed the confrontation and death of the protestor on nine employees and the owner of NF Security; the leader of MST was blamed for trespassing. The inquiry found that the protester was fatally shot in the abdomen and in the leg. The security guard was shot in the head. Eight others were injured, five of them landless.[37]

The Civil Court of Cascavel granted an order for the repossession of the site on December 20, 2007[38] and on June 12, 2008, the remaining MST members left the Santa Teresa site they had been occupying.[39] On October 14, 2008, Syngenta donated the 123-hectare station to the Agronomy Institute of Paraná (IAPAR) for research into biodiversity, recovery of degraded areas and agriculture production systems, as well as environmental education programs.[40]

Lobbying in the US[edit]

Syngenta's contributions to US federal candidates, parties, and outside groups totaled $267,902 during 2012, ranking it 10th on the list of companies in its sector.[41] Its lobbying expenditures in the US during 2012 were $1,150,000, ranking it 7th in its sector.[42]

Farmers Support Team[edit]

Syngenta sponsors several agricultural programs in developing nations. SFI created its flagship program, the Farmer Support Team (FST). The FST is a nationwide program in the Philippine archipelago. It works with farmers in all the major rice, fruit, and vegetable production provinces of the country. It began by helping Filipino farmers gain greater understanding and achieve higher productivity through trainings in Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Integrated Crop Management (ICM) and Total Crop Management (TCM).

Syngenta Foundation[edit]

The objectives and goals of the Syngenta Foundation are "to work with rural communities in the semiarid regions of the world and improve their livelihoods."[43]

The Syngenta Foundation addressed the World Food Day Symposium in 2005 as an output of the Millennium Ecosystem Report.[44]

Awards and community involvement[edit]

In October 2008, Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, Inc. was recognized as one of Waterloo Area's Top Employers, as announced in the Waterloo Region Record, Guelph Mercury and Cambridge Times.[45] In 2011, Syngenta was named among the top 10 employers in biotechnology by Science magazine.[46] The company was also recognized by the 2011 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) as one of the best performing chemical companies worldwide. Syngenta was one of only five chemical companies in the World and Europe indices based on economic, social and environmental performance.[47]

In 2013, Syngenta announced a set of corporate goals to improve agricultural resource utilization, environmental stewardship, productivity, and education, particularly in poverty-stricken areas.[48]

Alleged targeting of research scientist[edit]

According to an article in the February 10, 2014, issue of The New Yorker, Syngenta's public-relations team took steps to discredit Tyrone Hayes, a biologist at the University of California at Berkeley whose research showed that the Syngenta-produced chemical atrazine was responsible for abnormal development of reproductive organs in frogs. The article described how, according to Hayes, the company paid third-party critics to write articles discrediting Hayes's work, planned to have his wife investigated, and planted hostile audience members at scientific talks given by Hayes.[22]

During a February 21 interview conducted on Democracy Now, Hayes reiterated the claims.[49] After the interview aired, Syngenta denied targeting Hayes or making any threats, calling those statements "uncorroborated and intentionally damaging", "baseless", "malicious", and "defamatory"; it noted that the alleged threats had never been reported to law enforcement. Syngenta therefore demanded a retraction and public apology from Hayes and Democracy Now.[50]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Annual Report 2013". Syngenta.com. Retrieved 2014-04-21. 
  2. ^ Shand, Hope (Summer 2012). "The Big Six: A Profile of Corporate Power in Seeds, Agrochemicals & Biotech" (PDF). The Heritage Farm Companion. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Andrew Ross Sorkin for the New York Times. December 03, 1999 AstraZeneca and Novartis To Shed Agricultural Units Accessed May 27, 2013
  4. ^ Staff, PRNewsWire. November 13, 2000. Syngenta Begins Trading on the New York Stock Exchange Accessed May 27, 2013
  5. ^ "A history of... Novartis - Articles". pharmaphorum. 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  6. ^ Staff, The Mineralogical Record Biographical Archive. J.R. Geigy (1830-1917)
  7. ^ "Drug-House Profiles". NYTimes.com. 1984-10-09. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  8. ^ "Syngenta: About us". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Syngenta buys Advanta-17/05/2004-ECN". Icis.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  10. ^ "Syngenta to Acquire Golden Harvest". Seed Today. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  11. ^ "European roadblock to biotech crops starts to crumble". Greenbio.checkbiotech.org. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  12. ^ "World Environment News - Swiss Adopt Five-Year GMO Farming Ban". Planet Ark. 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  13. ^ "Swiss Voters Approve Ban on Genetically Altered Crops". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  14. ^ "Reasons for Selection 2007 Canada's Top 100 Employers". Eluta.ca. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  15. ^ "Science: Agriculture: Sustainable Agriculture". DMOZ. 2014-02-05. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  16. ^ Agropages.com Mar. 25, 2014 Top six agrochemical firms grew steady in 2013
  17. ^ a b c d [1][dead link]
  18. ^ "U.S. Approves Corn Modified for Ethanol". NYTimes.com. 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  19. ^ Syngenta and Three Rivers Energy signed Enogen® trait technology agreement. AgroPages, Nov. 26, 2013. Retrieved 2014-5-8
  20. ^ [2][dead link]
  21. ^ "Syngenta - Legal Issues and Controversies | Legal Issues Controversies | Technology Trends". Primidi.com. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  22. ^ a b c d Rachel Aviv for The New Yorker. February 10, 2014. A Valuable Reputation
  23. ^ USEPA. White Paper on the Potential for Atrazine to Affect Amphibian Gonadal Development; Submitted to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel for Review and Comment; October 9–12, 2007.
  24. ^ European Commission. Bees & Pesticides: Commission to proceed with plan to better protect bees; Press Release, 29 April 2013.
  25. ^ "EU insecticide ban triggers legal action : Nature News Blog". Blogs.nature.com. 2014-01-30. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  26. ^ World Health Organization Chlordimeform Environmental Health Criteria, No 199. ISBN 9789241571999
  27. ^ Environmental Protection Agency Office Of Pesticide Programs Case Number 0141 Guidance for the Reregistration Of Pesticide Products Containing Chlordimeform or Chlordimeform Hydrochloride As Active Ingredients 059701 and 059702
  28. ^ "431. Chlordimeform (Pesticide residues in food: 1978 evaluations)". Inchem.org. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  29. ^ "Syngenta Global Website – Bringing plant potential to life". .syngenta.com. 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  30. ^ "Monsanto and Syngenta Settle All Litigation Between the Companies". Patent Docs. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  31. ^ City of Greenville v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., and Syngenta AG Case No. 3:10-cv-00188-JPG-PMF, accessed August 23, 2013
  32. ^ Syngenta Settles With Water Utilities Over Weedkiller - WSJ.com
  33. ^ Special Report: Syngenta's campaign to protect atrazine, discredit critics. — Environmental Health News
  34. ^ Dalton, Rex (2010). "E-mails spark ethics row". Nature 466 (7309): 913. doi:10.1038/466913a. PMID 20725013. 
  35. ^ Tillery planning to file new litigation involving atrazine, Madison County Record, June 19, 2013, accessed August 23, 2013
  36. ^ Doyle, Leonard (November 5, 2007). "Brazilian land activist killed in dispute over experimental GM farm". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  37. ^ Miguel Portela for CONTAG (Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura) Press Office. November 21, 2007 Polícia indicia seguranças por morte English translation via Google
  38. ^ Marcus Vinícius for Bem Paraná. December 28, 2007. A multa continua English translation via Google
  39. ^ Staff, Bem Paraná. June 11, 2008. Desocupação da fazenda da multinacional Syngenta é finalizada English translation via Google
  40. ^ Instituto Agronômico do Paraná October 14, 2008. Antiga fazenda experimental da Syngenta Seeds abrigará centro de pesquisa do IAPAR English translation via Google
  41. ^ The Center for Responsive Politics Agricultural Services & Products: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups Accessed May 27, 2013
  42. ^ The Center for Responsive Politics. Agricultural Services & Products: Lobbying, 2012 Accessed May 27, 2013
  43. ^ [3][dead link]
  44. ^ "Watch Videos Online | Syngenta Foundation For Sustainable Agriculture". Veoh.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  45. ^ "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Waterloo Area's Top Employers Competition". Eluta.ca. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  46. ^ Milano, Carol (2011-09-16). "Innovation and Research: The Human Factor | Science Careers". Sciencecareers.sciencemag.org. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  47. ^ "DJSI recognition". Syngenta.com. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  48. ^ "One Planet. Six Commitments. The Good Growth Plan.". Youtube. 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  49. ^ Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman for Democracy Now. February 21, 2014. Silencing the Scientist: Tyrone Hayes on Being Targeted by Herbicide Firm Syngenta
  50. ^ "Syngenta Defends Senior Scientist". Syngenta.com. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 

External links[edit]

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37758 news items

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 09:01:53 -0800

The settlement clears up a long-running legal dispute over Syngenta's genetically modified Agrisure Viptera corn and probably precedes an eventual decision by Bunge to begin accepting the grain, also known as MIR 162, as the China market opens up.

Farm Futures

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 05:18:45 -0800

Wayzata-based Cargill had sued Syngenta earlier this fall, as had other grain companies whose shipments were rejected by China after it discovered traces of the genetically modified seed on corn-carrying ships. The U.S. had approved the use of the ...


Fri, 12 Dec 2014 15:15:00 -0800

Syngenta, one of the world's largest seed companies, will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import, spokesman Paul Minehart said. He declined ...
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:27:05 -0800

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2014 -Chinese officials informed a wide variety of U.S. seed industry officials that they approved Syngenta's seed trait Viptera, according to sources contacted by Agri-Pulse. However, industry officials were reluctant to ...


News & Observer
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 07:45:00 -0800

No decisions have been made about how the personnel moves will affect the company's sites elsewhere – including its global headquarters for biotechnology research in Research Triangle Park, where Syngenta employs more than 400 workers; and in ...
Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:48:45 -0800

Syngenta AG expects China soon will approve imports of a controversial strain of biotech corn that has sparked lawsuits from grain traders and farmers blaming the seed maker for losses because of shipments rejected by Beijing. "We expect to be granted ...
Genetic Literacy Project
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:00:00 -0800

Syngenta, one of the world's largest seed companies, will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import, spokesman Paul Minehart said. He declined ...
Royal Society of Chemistry
Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:44:22 -0800

Agrochemical heavyweight Syngenta has initiated a global restructuring plan that will see around 1800 roles either cut or moved to different sites. The affected roles will be spread across all of the company's functions, including sales, marketing ...

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