Monsanto Co. announced higher fourth-quarter sales and a profit compared with a year ago, powered by higher sales of new corn and soybean seed and trait technologies.
Fourth-quarter total net sales were $2.7 billion, compared with $2.6 billion in the year-ago period. Agricultural productivity, its crop protection and lawn-and-garden herbicide business, sales were $939 million in the quarter, down from $997 million a year earlier. Seeds and genomics sales totaled $1.7 billion, up from $1.6 billion a year ago.
The company posted a net profit of $20 million, or 5 cents per share in the quarter, reversing a loss of $191 million, or 44 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.
“Our record sales and gross profit in the Seeds and Genomics segment this year, fueled by the outstanding penetration of our latest soybean and cotton technologies and continued adoption of our newest corn hybrids around the world, reflects the need for new solutions in what continues to be a challenging ag economy,” said Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer for Monsanto. “Our proven ability to innovate and our unique platform advantages position us well to meet the production challenges of today, as well as the demands of tomorrow.”
Looking to 2018, the company sees continued growth in Seeds and Genomics segment including adoption and pricing of INTACTA RR2 PROTM soybeans in South America; continued adoption of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, and price and share gains from the launch of new corn hybrids around the world. In addition, the company expects to reach 50 million paid acres globally for the Climate FieldViewTM platform, and growth from the multi-crop U.S.launch of NemaStrikeTM technology.
The company also anticipates lower planted corn acres in Brazil and challenging commodity pricing for corn around the globe.
In Ag Productivity, the pricing for glyphosate is expected to improve in 2018, at least through the first quarter of the fiscal year, and volumes of XtendiMax® Herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology are expected to expand.
In 2017, in soybeans, gross profit grew 35% compared to last fiscal year. The company hit several milestones in the initial launch year of the Roundup Ready Xtend® Crop System, including EPA approval for in-crop use of XtendiMax® Herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology and tank mix partners, and the availability of more than 120 Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybean varieties across all relative maturity groups. Monsanto now expects that, together with its licensee partners, it will have supply to double the adoption to more than 40 million acres in the 2018 season.
In South America, more than 50 million acres of INTACTA RR2 PROTM soybeans propelled fiscal year 2017 growth, and the company expects more than 60 million acres planted in South America in fiscal year 2018.