9 May 1997

Novartis results

FIRST year results for Novartis Crop Protection UK look set to exceed expectations, thanks largely to an unexpectedly good fungicides market.

"Either weve gained significantly more market share than we expected, or farmers are spending more on fungicides than they did last year," says chief executive Don Taylor.

The suspicion is that farmers who cut back on fungicides severely during last years dry conditions were caught out. That could have prompted a swing to more low cost, prophylactic spraying this season.

"Mildew was certainly a more significant factor in farmers minds earlier in the season," says Mr Taylor.

Added to the improved business performance following the merger are gains in operating efficiency, he adds. Staffing, for example, has been cut by more than 10%.

FIRST year results for Novartis Crop Protection UK look set to exceed expectations, thanks largely to an unexpectedly good fungicides market.

"Either weve gained significantly more market share than we expected, or farmers are spending more on fungicides than they did last year," says chief executive Don Taylor.

The suspicion is that farmers who cut back on fungicides severely during last years dry conditions were caught out. That could have prompted a swing to more low cost, prophylactic spraying this season.

"Mildew was certainly a more significant factor in farmers minds earlier in the season," says Mr Taylor.

Added to the improved business performance following the merger are gains in operating efficiency, he adds. Staffing, for example, has been cut by more than 10%.