Monsanto posts smaller Q4 loss

On Wednesday, American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. posted a smaller loss for the fourth quarter, with seeds and traits sales helping it have a better-than-expected year.

The world’s largest seed company said the balance of its global business positions it well for continued growth and investment for the year to come. Monsanto plans to at least double ongoing earnings per share over the next five years.

Monsanto’s Chairman and CEO, High Grant, said in a statement:

“We’re confident in our ability to deliver the targets we’ve set in both the near term and over the longer term. In an industry that’s particularly near-term focused right now, there are few companies as well positioned to deliver strong growth today while significantly increasing investments to enable the continued delivery of a broad range of innovative solutions for tomorrow.”

Monsanto Financials

(Data source: Monsanto Company)

Despite its relatively positive figures, shares in the company fell after the announcement, but picked up by 1% later in the day.

Increased investment in new technology platforms in 2015, including its new farm data business unit, will have an impact on profits, Monsanto said.

2015 forecast to be a fairly good year

Even though grain prices are currently low, most investors believe 2015 will be a reasonably good year.

Operating expenses in the 4th quarter (ending August 31) were 15% higher than in the same quarter last year, while revenues rose to $2.6 billion compared to $2.2 billion in Q4 2013.

Monsanto’s loss fell to $156 million (31 cents per share) in Q4 2014 compared to a $249 million loss (47 cents per share) in Q4 2013. A recent environmental settlement meant the company had to include a charge of 4 cents per share in the last quarter.

Corn seeds & genetic traits and soybean & trait sales came in at $630 million and $199 million respectively in Q4, which were both increases from $618 million and $87 million respectively in Q4 2013.

Net sales of Roundup herbicide (Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System) totaled $1.25 billion, compared to $1 billion last year.

Monsanto posted net sales of $15.9 billion for the full year, which was 7% higher than the previous year, driven partly by strong soybean sales ($2.1 billion).

Monsanto Company, founded by John Francis Queeny in 1901, is based in Creve Coeur, Missouri. It employs nearly 30,000 workers globally.