Monsanto Narrows 4Q Loss, Reveals Restatement of Results

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) posted a lighter-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter loss on Wednesday, but the seed giant also disclosed plans to restate results from previous periods due to a regulatory investigation into the timing of its incentive accruals in one of its businesses.

The St. Louis-based company said it lost $112 million, or 21 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a loss of $143 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it lost 22 cents a share, besting forecasts for a deeper loss of 27 cents.

Monsanto posted revenue of $2.25 billion, easily exceeding the Street’s view of $1.89 billion. Gross margins shrank to 43.2% from 44.1%.

“As we bring this year to a very successful close and look at what's to come, it's clear that we have turned a corner and returned to growth mode,” CEO Hugh Grant said in a statement. “We made a conscious effort to reconnect with our customers, and from that earned significant sales growth for seeds and traits and created positive momentum we carry into 2012.”

Looking ahead, Monsanto forecasted first-quarter EPS of 10 cents to 15 cents.

On the heels of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe, Monsanto said it needs to restate financial results for 2009, 2010 and prior 2011 quarters to reflect timing of accruals for customer incentives in its glyphosate business.

The changes will eat into its 2009 EPS by 5 cents to 10 cents and impact 2010 EPS between -2 cents and a gain of 3 cents.

However, Monsanto said total revenues and costs over the three fiscal years as a whole remain unchanged.

Despite the restatement news, shares of Monsanto gained 2.6% to $64.90, putting them on pace to trim their 2011 loss of about 9%.