Monsanto Sets Aggressive Target:
20%, year over year - over year
RACHEL MELCHER / St Louis Post-Dispatch 10nov2005
[More on Monsanto]
Monsanto Co. on Thursday announced an aggressive earnings growth target of 20 percent, year over year - over year.
The company, based in Creve Coeur, said it will build on its market leadership in biotech seeds and genetic traits. Monsanto said it will hit its earnings-per-share mark in the range of $2.35 to $2.50 for fiscal 2006, which represents a growth rate of up to 20 percent over the previous year. And it promised to repeat the feat in fiscal 2007, with earnings per share in the range of $2.82 to $3.
"These are commitments. They're not lightly held," said Hugh Grant, chairman, president and chief executive, in a presentation to investors that was broadcast over the Internet.
Chief Financial Officer Terry Crews said Monsanto set the stage by meeting key goals over the last year.
The company managed costs and expectations in its Roundup herbicide business, which faces stiff price competition. It increased the penetration of genetically modified row crops in the United States and abroad. Market share expanded, future products advanced through the pipeline, and acquired seed companies - most notably Seminis Inc. - are performing well, he said.
Monsanto "has a leadership position. ... We worked hard to get to this position, and we intend to work hard to maintain it," Crews said.
To meet its 2007 earnings-growth goal, the company will see the greatest contribution from sales of biotech seeds for row crops - corn, soybeans, cotton and canola - with corn representing the biggest opportunity, he said. The company will expand globally, in particular with sales of cotton products in India and the ability to capture value from previously pirated products planted in Brazil.
The Seminis acquisition will add 20 to 25 cents a share to 2007 earnings, Crews said, which will boost otherwise flat results in the agriculture productivity segment. And the overall 20 percent earnings growth includes the cost of stock options, expected to be 10 to 12 cents a share.
The news boosted Monsanto's stock to its highest level in three months. The shares rose $2.25 Thursday to close at $66.26.
source: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/emaf.nsf/Popup?ReadForm&db=stltoday%5Cbusiness%5Cstories.nsf&docid=6D08C7AF099F2F8A862570B600180393 14nov2005