Swiss pesticide and seeds maker Syngenta, which is being taken over by state-owned ChemChina, still expects the deal to close by year's end, it said on 22 July while reporting a worse-than-expected drop in first-half profit, Reuters reports.

"We are having constructive discussions with all regulatory authorities which reinforce our confidence in closing the transaction by the end of the year," new chief executive Erik Fyrwald (pictured) said in the company’s results statement.

Reuters said first-half profit was hurt by weak agricultural markets and a continued decline of its Latin American business,

Group net income fell 13% to US$1.06bn, below the US$1.28bn expected on average in a Reuters poll of analysts, while a 7% decline in sales to US$7.09bn was short of the market view of US$7.22bn.

"After a resilient first quarter, market conditions were more difficult in the second quarter, notably for the high-margin Europe, Africa and the Middle East business," Fyrwald said.

A return to growth in Asia-Pacific was expected in the second half with the easing of droughts.

China National Chemical Corp announced its US$43bn bid for Syngenta on 3 February, the biggest every foreign purchase by a Chinese company (see Biotech News, OFI March/April 2016).