Monsanto profit droops but seed giant bullish over future growth

SEED giant Monsanto yesterday reported a six per cent drop in profit for its third quarter, but impressed investors with plans to double earnings over the next five years and an offer to repurchase $10bn (£5.9bn) in shares.

The share buyback throws further doubt on recent reports that Monsanto planned to buy Swiss crop chemical maker Syngenta for $40bn.

Monsanta, known for producing genetically engineered corn and soybeans and Roundup herbicide, raised the low end of its 2014 forecast by 10c to between $5.10 and $5.20, after earnings of $858m in the quarter to 31 May.

That figure was down from $909m a year ago, but the company remains upbeat about its future.

Chairman Hugh Grant said: “We’re on track for seeds and traits to drive a majority of our full-year growth. That performance in a more challenging agricultural environment speaks to the breadth and customer value of our product portfolio.”

Grant said the company aimed to at least double full-year earnings by the end of the 2019 fiscal year.

The company said more than $4bn of total gross profit growth will come from its core seeds and traits unit. It predicted one of its most important additions was its new farm data business, The Climate Corp, which it expects to be used for farming on 40m acres in the US.

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