Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monsanto's (NYSE:MON) Earnings Plunge 45 Percent in Third Quarter

As expected, Monsanto (NYSE:MON) struggled in the third quarter, as profits plummeted by 45 percent for the period ending May 31.

Earnings dropped to $384 million, or 70 cents a share, from $694 million, or $1.25 a share, from the same quarter last year.

After adjustments, the company earned 81 cents a share, while analysts had been looking for 79 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter dropped from $3.16 billion last year to $2.96 billion in 2010. That was a significant miss, as analysts had looked for an increase over the third quarter last year, expecting $3.17 billion in revenue.

The primary reason for the poor performance of the company was the ongoing struggles related to their Roundup herbicide business, which has seen revenue, profits and margins under pressure as it has had to compete with generic competitors with lower prices.

Weed resistance to the herbicide has been another issue related to declining sales.

Also a disappointment to the company has been its new Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans, which haven't done as well as the company hoped in relationship to performance, which has generated complaints from farmers on the high price of the product.

Monsanto has been addressing those issues by lowering prices for seed licensees and cutting premiums paid on the seed by farmers by up to half of what it had been.

The company reiterated its guidance for the fiscal year for earnings, saying they're maintaining the $2.40 to $2.60 a share they've asserted in the past.

Guidance for next year was also confirmed, where Monsanto still looks for earnings growth to be somewhere in the mid-teens. The majority of that growth will come from the seeds and genomics segment of the company.

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