Monsanto misses Street 2Q forecasts on falling seed sales

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Monsanto Co. on Wednesday reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the second quarter amid flagging sales of the company's biotech-enhanced seeds and signature weed killer, Roundup.

Monsanto has struggled with falling prices for crops like corn, soy beans and wheat, which have reduced farmers' spending on Monsanto's genetically enhanced seeds. At the same time, the strong dollar has made its products, including chemical weed killer, more expense overseas.

The St. Louis-based company reported a profit of $1.06 billion, or $2.41 per share, compared with $1.43 billion, or $2.92 per share, in the prior-year period. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were $2.42.

The results fell short of Wall Street expectations, with analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expecting earnings of $2.45 per share.

Sales tumbled more than 12 percent during the period to $4.53 billion, which also missed Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $4.78 billion.

The company continues to expect full-year earnings in the range of $4.40 to $5.10 per share.

Last month the agricultural business giant slashed its prior guidance due to a combination of headwinds affecting both its seed and chemical business units.

The company's seeds have specially engineered traits such as protection against certain insects. They are more expensive but help farmers increase their crop yield.

The company began the year by announcing it would eliminate another 1,000 employees, increasing its planned layoffs to 3,600 for the next two years.

Monsanto shares slipped 19 cents to $86.45 in premarket trading Wednesday. They have decreased 12 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has stayed nearly flat. The stock has declined 26 percent in the last 12 months.


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