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ST. LOUIS, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co. executives are discussing whether the world's largest seed company should try to acquire agrochemical rivals, including top pesticide maker Syngenta AG, Monsanto President Brett Begemann said on Tuesday.
The internal discussions, ongoing since the company walked away from its $46 billion offer for Syngenta in August, include weighing the benefits of bidding for rivals such as Bayer CropScience, Begemann told reporters at the company's headquarters.
"We've had conversations inside," about Syngenta and other agricultural companies, Begemann said. "I'm not going to comment on whether we've pursued any other conversations" outside of Monsanto.
"Right now, we're sitting back and staying focused on our core business. If an opportunity comes along, we'll look at that," Begemann said.
Monsanto has "no new news" regarding what it might do in terms of a possible offer to Syngenta or any other agrochemical company, Begemann said.
Asked by a reporter if Monsanto had been in talks with Bayer AG, Begemann declined to comment.
Referring to the entire industry, Begemann said, "There are a lot of discussions going on, and only a handful that will come to fruition in the future."
Begemann said the company expects its profit growth will reach 20 percent a year, and doesn't need a big acquisition deal to achieve its previously reported goal of doubling earnings to more than $10 a share by 2019. (Reporting by PJ Huffstutter in St. Louis; Writing by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Paul Simao)