Syngenta AG reported a decline in first-half profit after cold weather and late Northern hemisphere crop planting weighed on demand for fungicides. Net income fell 5 percent to $1.41 billion, compared with an estimated $1.49 billion, based on the average of six analyst predictions collected by Bloomberg. Sales rose 2 percent to $8.4 billion. Excluding royalties for its 604 corn rootworm trait worth $256 million, booked in the year-earlier period, sales rose 7 percent.

“For the second half of the year we expect an acceleration of underlying sales growth based on the positive outlook for Latin America and Asia Pacific,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Mack said in a statement today.

Mack, who became chief of Basel-based Syngenta in 2008, wants to almost double sales to $25 billion by 2020, buoyed by a company-wide reorganization along crop lines and purchases of new technologies. Syngenta has stepped up acquisitions in the last year, using spare cash to buy listed hybrid-rice seed-maker Devgen for $523 million, US based Sunfield Seeds Inc., and most recently announcing the purchase of Zambia-based MRI, a maker of white corn seed.