Monsanto income up significantly in year

by Eric Schroeder
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ST. LOUIS — For fiscal year 2008, Monsanto posted net income of $2,024 million, equal to $3.62 per share on the common stock, up sharply from $993 million, or $1.79 per share, during the previous year.

Sales for the year were $11,365,000 million, up 36% from $8,349 million during fiscal 2007. The growth came from increased sales of herbicides, higher worldwide corn seed and traits revenue, increased revenue from the U.S. soybean and cotton seeds and traits businesses, and increased revenue from the vegetable seed portfolio.

"Across the industry, every company is dealing with historic volatility caused by uncertainty in the commodities and credit markets, but our fundamental belief is that if we focus on the things in our business that we control and we do those things well, there’s significant growth ahead for our business," said Hugh Grant, president and chief executive officer. "As the markets sort themselves out, our basic premise will be the same — greater grain demand drives the need for more yield, more yield requires more innovation and the companies that innovate will grow."

For the fourth quarter the company suffered a loss of $172 million, which compared with a loss of $210 million during the same quarter of the previous year. The company said the negative results may be attributed to the seasonality of certain product sales and in-process research and development expenses related to the acquisition of the De Ruiter vegetable seeds business.

Sales for the fourth quarter were $2,051 million, up 35% from $1,518 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

Monsanto anticipates full-year 2009 earnings per share to be in the range of $4.20 to $4.40 per share. This is up about 15% to 20% from fiscal-year 2008. The company also expects gross profit will grow to $9.5 billion to $9.75 billion for 2012.

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