Monsanto 2Q Net Income Jumps 15%

Monsanto unveiled a 15% jump in its fiscal second-quarter profits on strong seed sales and a more disciplined spending approach.

For the quarter ended Feb.28, the company earned $1.88 a share on sales of $4.1 billion, as compared with $1.60 in the prior quarter. Analysts were expecting profits of $1.84 a share.

The agriculture giant benefited from a sharp rise in sales of corn seeds. Indeed, sales of corn seeds and traits increased 6.7% to $2.4 billion – which accounted for more than half of the company’s net sales. Monsanto develops a slew of genetically-altered seeds that it expects to sell well as the spring planting season picks up, the company said in a release.

The St. Louis based company also saw its profit margin climb two percentage points to 56% as it reined in costs.

The company also re-affirmed its outlook for “mid-teens” earnings growth.

“Given the tempo of the year, we are where we should be, and we have the right pieces and the right execution to feel very good that mid-teens earnings growth in 2011 is on track," said Hugh Grant, Monsanto president and chief executive officers.