Monsanto Results Boosted by Soybean Seeds and Traits Business

By Ezequiel MinayaFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Monsanto Co.'s soybean seed and traits business posted sales that climbed 29% during the fiscal third quarter, which helped propel the seed giant to better-than-expected results for the period.

Total sales were nearly flat, inching upward 1% to $4.23 billion but still stronger than the $4.17 billion expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

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"In soybeans, Monsanto has seen strong demand for the latest technologies, with growth of approximately 30[%] global gross profit now expected for fiscal year 2017," the company said in a press release.

Amid the latest results, Monsanto said it expects full-year earnings on a per-share basis at the high end of the range of $4.09 to $4.55 as well as adjusted earnings of $4.50 to $4.90. Among other factors affecting the current quarter, the company said it expects to benefit from roughly $70 million in noncore asset sales.

Shares rose 0.64% to $118.00 in premarket trading Wednesday.

In the latest quarter, revenue from seeds and genomics, Monsanto's biggest business, fell 2.3% to $3.13 billion despite the strong showing of the soybean seed segment, which is housed in the category. For the quarter, the soybean business surged to $896 million in sales from $693 million.

Key soybean-growing states have approved herbicide mixes for the company's new genetically modified soybean, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend. The seeds were introduced last year, but concerns over EU approval slowed their use.

Monsanto reported income of $843 million, or $1.90 a share, up from $717 million, or $1.63 a share, a year ago.

Excluding certain items, adjusted per-share earnings were $1.93, down from $2.17 a year ago but better than the $1.76 expected by analysts.

Last year, Monsanto agreed to sell itself to Bayer AG after months of haggling, in a $57 billion deal that creates an agricultural powerhouse. The deal ranks as the largest-ever takeover of a U.S. company by a German firm and pivots Bayer heavily toward agriculture in a long-range bet on high-tech crops to sustain a growing global population. The tie-up has been in regulatory reviews in the U.S. Monsanto has said it expects the transaction to close by the end of 2017.

Write to Ezequiel Minaya at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 28, 2017 09:12 ET (13:12 GMT)