Monsanto posts record second quarter, sales jump 15 percent

Wed Apr 4, 2012 4:17pm EDT
 
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By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - Global agribusiness company Monsanto Co (MON.N: Quote) posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as the company said early U.S. spring planting and a 15 percent sales jump boosted its full-year outlook.

Shares sagged after an early jump amid a general market slump and as the company said results for the second half of the year would likely be flat.

Still, the company was on pace for a strong year, said Monsanto Chairman Hugh Grant.

"We've seen contributions from growth across crops and geographies, which position us well to deliver high-teens ongoing earnings growth this year," Grant said.

For next year, Grant said even though the company will be looking to leverage strong product performance, Monsanto does not see large price hikes for 2013, a factor that also kept a lid on share gains Wednesday.

Monsanto, which is the world's largest seed company and a leader in development of genetically engineered agricultural corn, soybeans, and other crops, set a record for its seeds and genomics unit, driving net income for the second quarter up 19 percent to $1.2 billion.

Diluted earnings per share came in at $2.24 cents versus $1.88 a year ago. Earnings per share from continuing operations totaled $2.28, up from $1.87 a year ago and above the $2.12 expected by analysts.

Corn sales totaled $2.8 billion, up from $2.4 billion a year earlier, leading all other products as both Latin American and U.S. farmers were eager buyers of Monsanto's genetically modified seed products.   Continued...

 
Hugh Grant, the chairman, president and chief executive of agricultural company Monsanto, smiles during the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, California, April 12, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson