The biotech giant introduced its five-year strategic growth plan in November 2007, in which it aired bold plans to double its profit potential by 2012 on the back new platforms it plans to implement. Although its still early days in the grand scheme, the signs for the year so far are positive. In its second quarter results, released today, Monsanto has reported a 45 per cent increase in net sales in Q2 compared to the same period of last year, to $3.8bn. Net income for the three month period was $1.1bn, compared to $543m for the prior year period. Earnings per share were $2.02 on an as-reported basis, and $1.79 on an on-going basis. Hugh Grant, chairman, president and chief executive, said: "Between now and 2012, we are the only agricultural company that can point to consistent growth irrespective of commodity price swings, fluctuations in planted acres or the popularity of ethanol." Growth drivers over the five year period are the US and international corn businesses, the international soybean business, the international cotton business, the vegetable seeds business, and the research and development pipeline. In November Monsanto told analysts of six "blockbuster projects" it plans to introduce with an estimated sales potential of up to $500m, as well as one "mega-blockbuster project" that could bring in over $1bn. Meanwhile, key drivers for the latest excellent results are said to be increased revenues from the US corn seed and traits business, and the Brazilian corn seed business. For the current quarter Monsanto will be able to report activity in its vegetable seeds business, as this week it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Dutch De Ruiter Seeds for €546m (more than $800m, depending on exchange rates), less net debt. Monsanto said this acquisition will build strength in its vegetable seeds business and enhance its growth in the protected culture segment, which is said to be the fastest growing segment in the vegetable seeds industry. The company is expecting this growth spurt to continue in its third quarter, and to be the mainstay of its full year 20078 financials. Historically Monsanto has recorded a loss in the fourth quarter. Outlook for the full year is earnings per share in the range of $3.38 to $3.48 on an as-reported basis, and $3.15 and $3.25 on an on-going basis.