Monsanto reports loss as sales slide
January 6, 2010
Monsanto has reported a quarterly loss citing a steep slide in herbicide revenue and a smaller drop in key corn and soybean seed sales, reports Reuters. Monsanto reported a net loss of $19 million for the first quarter. Monsanto said net sales decreased $952 million, or 36 percent, in the quarter, mainly because of decreased sales of its glyphosate-based herbicides, primarily in Brazil and Europe. Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicide sales were also off 63 percent in the quarter as volume and pricing slid. Gross profit for the total company totaled $739 million, down 52 percent, while the margin dropped 15 percentage points to 44 percent, largely driven by pricing adjustments for Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides. Monsanto has been shifting its focus away from the herbicide business, which has been suffering from growing competition and price pressure, to its more profitable seeds and traits business. The company said it continues to see good growth ahead and cited strong demand for new corn and soybean seed products in the market this year. The company is targeting its new Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans for plantings on 8 million to 10 million acres, and said that sales to date were on pace to meet that target.