Monsanto profits fall on lower Roundup prices

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gross profit Generally accepted accounting principles

Monsanto reported a decline in profits for the second quarter of fiscal 2010 on Wednesday and warned that it was unlikely that it would meet its longer-term profit forecasts.

The agricultural behemoth had announced in 2007 that it expected to double its gross profit by 2012. However, gross profit was down 17 percent for the quarter ended February 28, to $2.1bn, mainly as a result of price decreases for its glyphosate-based herbicides, including Roundup, the company said.

Chairman, president and CEO of Monsanto Hugh Grant said in a statement: "Over the course of a five-year operational plan, the landscape can change. While there may be options to make an accelerated push for 2012, it's clear to me that achieving that objective would involve making short-term choices that are not in the long-range interests of the business.”

Monsanto’s net sales were down four percent, or $145m in the quarter, also due to lower prices for glyphosates. The company said this was part of its strategy to increase sales volumes, which were up in Brazil, Argentina, the United States and Asia. Net income in the second quarter was $887m.

The company has said that it intends to move away from its previous key profit driver Roundup, toward reaping greater profits from new seed traits for corn and soy for resistance to drought, pesticides and herbicides, as well as increased yields.

Grant added: “Still, nothing has changed in my fundamental view of the business. We have the best products, we have a commercial and technology lead and we have the experience to apply the lessons of 2010. Given that, I am confident that we're a growth company going forward."

Monsanto said that it expects to generate earnings growth in the mid-teens after 2010.

Full-year share earnings would be likely to come in at the lower end of its previously stated $3.10 to $3.30 per share, the company said.

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