Thu, May 7, 4:15 PM
- Syngenta (SYT +6.1%) spiked into the close following a Reuters report that the company is working with Goldman Sachs to assess the merits of a potential takeover deal by Monsanto (MON +2.4%), which is said to have hired Morgan Stanley as its adviser.
- MON long has been interested in SYT and the potential to base itself in Switzerland and benefit from lower taxes, but with the U.S. attempting to clamp down on such tax inversion deals, MON may have to buy SYT in a cash rather than stock transaction and would be unable to redomicile in Switzerland - a tall order that could require the need of a partner before launching a takeover bid that could cost as much as $40B.
- MON approached SYT last year about some sort of combination, and rumors of talks between the two have picked up in the past week.
Mon, May 4, 6:35 PM
- Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) fell 7.6% in today's trade, giving up some but not all of its 16% gain on Friday that was sparked by talk that Monsanto (NYSE:MON) had approached the company about a takeover.
- The biggest concern for regulatory approval may involve what would be an unprecedented market share in soybeans and corn seeds for the combined company, and analysts say SYT’s operations in those areas would appeal to a range of buyers including Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), DuPont (NYSE:DD), BASF (OTCQX:BASFY, OTCPK:BFFAF) and Bayer (OTCPK:BAYZF, OTCPK:BAYRY).
- Colin Isaac of Atlantic Equities says the deal he always expected to happen is a DuPont purchase of Dow's agriculture unit; CEO Andrew Liveris has suggested Dow is open to divesting the unit, and MON's becoming a much stronger competitor after an SYT takeover could be a catalyst for Dow to more seriously consider exiting the business, which Issac says would be prime pickings for DuPont and its Pioneer seed business.
- A $19.5B bid by DuPont for Dow’s ag sciences business could generate a 7% return on invested capital, according to a report by Laurence Alexander at Jefferies, while adding that such a move is less likely until agricultural markets improve from current trough levels.
Fri, May 1, 7:59 AM
- Antitrust issues regarding a potential Monsanto (NYSE:MON) and Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) combination would "not be insurmountable," Deutsche Bank analysts say, following reports late yesterday that MON again has approached SYT about a takeover.
- Although MON is no. 1 globally in seeds and SYN is no. 3, SYT’s market share is relatively small at 8% vs. MON's 25%, the firm says; SYT's seeds business is perceived as the weak spot after recent problems in its U.S. corn business, the firm says, so the market would not see a problem if some of SYT’s seeds assets had to be divested as a prerequisite for a deal.
- SYT +16%, MON +3.6% premarket.
Thu, Apr. 30, 4:55 PM
- Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) +12.6% AH after Bloomberg reports it has been approached by Monsanto (NYSE:MON) about a possible takeover.
- Combined with SYT, MON would become the largest player in the world for both seeds and crop chemicals and a formidable competitor to Bayer (OTCPK:BAYZF, OTCPK:BAYRY), BASF (OTCQX:BASFY, OTCPK:BFFAF) and Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW).
- Reports last year had said the companies held preliminary talks with advisers about a combination before SYT management decided against negotiations.
Wed, Apr. 22, 5:58 PM
- The European Union is proposing new rules that would allow individual member states to ban the sale of GMO crops for non-scientific reasons.
- U.S. biotech giants such as Monsanto (NYSE:MON), European farm groups, and the U.S. government are all strongly opposed; the U.S. fears the plan could wreak havoc on agricultural exports to Europe and set a precedent of erecting trade barriers for non-scientific reasons.
- The EU’s trading partners also warn that the proposal could breach international trade rules enforced by the WTO.
- The EU is sharply divided on the issue of biotech crops; some nations, such as the Netherlands, the U.K. and Spain support the technology, while France, Austria and others are opposed.
Wed, Apr. 1, 8:52 AM
- Monsanto (NYSE:MON) -0.6% premarket after missing expectations for FQ2 earnings and revenues on weakness in both its seeds and genomics and agricultural productivity businesses.
- MON says current guidance for FY 2015 EPS is trending at the lower end of its previously forecast $5.75-$6.00 range and below the $5.84 analyst consensus estimate, as a strengthening U.S. dollar erodes sales abroad; MON says the negative effect of currency moves would reduce EPS by $0.35-$0.40.
- FQ2 corn seed and trait sales fell 15% Y/Y to $2.91B, but MON says it remains on track to hold or grow its branded corn-share footprint in every major market despite the decline in acres of corn being planted.
- Soybean seed and traits sales rose 7.7% to $883M; sales in the agricultural productivity business, which consists of crop-protection products and herbicides, fell 14% to $1.02B.
Wed, Apr. 1, 8:04 AM
Tue, Mar. 31, 6:52 PM
- The EPA says it will place new restrictions on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's (NYSE:MON) popular Roundup weed killer, to help address the rapid expansion of weeds resistant to the chemical.
- The EPA is not yet giving specifics of the plan, but Reuters says the requirements will be similar to those placed on a new herbicide product developed by Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), which included weed monitoring, farmer education and remediation plans.
- The EPA's action comes in the wake of a finding by the World Health Organization's cancer research unit earlier this month that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans.
Tue, Mar. 31, 5:30 PM
Mon, Mar. 23, 7:13 PM
- Monsanto (NYSE:MON) says it is “outraged” by the World Health Organization’s assessment that its Roundup weedkiller probably causes cancer.
- In a response to Friday’s WHO assessment of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, MON Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley said WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reached its conclusions by “cherry picking” data, and the company is seeking a meeting with senior WHO officials.
- “IARC’s process is not transparent, its decision is irresponsible, and it has the potential to cause confusion about such an important issue as safety,” Fraley said.
- MON fell 1.9% in today's trade on investor concerns about IARC’s view, but the key focus will rest on any actions taken by the U.S. EPA, which regulates the U.S. pesticides market and concluded in a 2012 study that glyphosate meets safety standards for human health when used in keeping with its label.
Mon, Mar. 23, 12:35 PM
- Origin Agritech (SEED +24.5%) soars in a move attributed to a WSJ article discussing China's desire to develop a local seed company, potentially through a renewed bid for SEED, which controls the rights to China's first genetically modified corn.
- SEED last year rejected a $60B takeover bid from China's state-backed Hunan Xindaxin but its top executives believe another attempt is coming, as China looks to find a way to can keep foreign giants such as Monsanto (NYSE:MON), DuPont (NYSE:DD) and Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) at bay while significantly increasing the country’s spending on R&D.
- China is the world’s second largest seed market but limits foreign producers to minority stakes in joint ventures, and its domestic seed makers are too small and scattered for the government to corral in pursuit of controlling the biotechnology that underpins the competitive power of global seed manufacturers.
Fri, Mar. 20, 4:48 PM
- Monsanto’s (NYSE:MON) best-selling weedkiller Roundup probably causes cancer, the World Health Organization says in a new report.
- The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer says it found "limited evidence" in humans that glyphosate - Roundup is the market name for the chemical - can cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma and "convincing evidence" that the herbicide can also cause other forms of cancer in rats and mice.
- The report also says glyphosate has been found in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, showing the chemical has been absorbed by the body.
- MON strongly disagrees with the findings, saying the agency reached a conclusion that is "a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe."
- Nearly all of MON’s $15.9B of annual sales are closely tied to glyphosate, and most of the company’s crops are designed to be used in tandem with it.
Fri, Jan. 30, 4:45 PM
- Monsanto (NYSE:MON) shareholders reject a proposal urging the separation of the chairman and CEO roles, but approve a non-binding proposal requesting “proxy access” adoption.
- Proxy access could turn typically one-sided corporate contests into something more like mainstream elections, by letting big investors list competing board candidates on official company ballots.
- The proposal about the chairman and CEO positions said an independent chairman would benefit MON’s financial performance, while MON believes Hugh Grant’s dual role helps it best execute strategy and notes that 12 of 13 directors are independent.
Fri, Jan. 30, 4:32 PM
Thu, Jan. 15, 6:17 PM
- Monsanto (NYSE:MON) says the USDA has approved its soybean and cotton seeds engineered to tolerate sprays of glyphosate, a widely used weed killer marketed by MON under the Roundup brand, and dicamba, a herbicide able to eradicate weeds that have evolved to withstand glyphosate.
- MON submitted the genetically modified seeds for USDA approval in 2010; company officials have said they expect to begin selling the new soybean seeds in 2016.
Wed, Jan. 7, 8:58 AM
- Monsanto (NYSE:MON) +1.1% premarket after FQ1 earnings and revenues beat expectations but expects FQ2 earnings to fall 5%-10% and lowers its full-year growth outlook for the seeds and genomics segment.
- MON confirms in-line guidance for FY 2015, seeing EPS of $5.75-$6.00 vs. $5.87 analyst consensus estimate, but anticipates fewer acres dedicated to corn in South America and a potential decline in overall pesticide earnings; sees full-year gross profit growth percentage for seeds and genomics in the high single digits, down from double-digits.
- In FQ1, sales in the agricultural productivity business fell 15% Y/Y to $1.25B, corn seed and trait sales fell 12% to $928M, while soybean seed and traits segment sales grew 48% to $396M.
- In October, MON had forecast earnings at roughly half of what it posted a year earlier as market conditions resulted in lower planted acres for cotton and corn.
MON vs. ETF Alternatives
Monsanto Co is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company offers corn, soybean, cotton, wheat, canola, sorghum and sugar cane seeds. Its segments are Seeds and Genomics and Agricultural Productivity.
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