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Monsanto 4th-Quarter Loss Widens

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:27pm

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Monsanto's fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened as its operating expenses increased.

The agricultural products company's adjusted earnings beat Wall Street's estimates, but its revenue fell short of expectations and it provided a full-year earnings forecast below analysts' estimates.

Monsanto shares dropped almost 3 percent in premarket trading.

For the three months ended Aug. 31, the maker of genetically engineered seeds and the herbicide Roundup said it lost $229 million, or 42 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $112 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

Wall Street predicted a loss of 43 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Operating expenses rose to $1.14 billion from $1.04 billion on higher selling, general and administrative expenses and increased research and development expenses as well as a bigger restructuring charge.

Revenue declined 6 percent to $2.11 billion from $2.25 billion as sales of corn seed and traits and cotton seed and traits fell. Analysts expected $2.22 billion in revenue.

Corn is used not just for food, but also for fuel, animal feed and syrup for soda. Corn is by far Monsanto's largest unit.

Monsanto Co.'s full-year net income climbed 27 percent to $2.05 billion, or $3.79 per share, from $1.61 billion, or $2.96 per share, in the prior year. Annual revenue rose 14 percent to $13.52 billion from $11.82 billion.

Looking ahead, Monsanto predicts fiscal 2013 earnings of $4.18 to $4.32 per share.

Analysts expect $4.38 per share for the St. Louis company.

Its shares fell $2.47, or 2.7 percent, to $88.47 in premarket trading. They peaked for the past year at $91.95 on Sept. 21.

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