Feb. 11, 2014, 2:24 PM
- The EU appears set to approve Europe's second genetically modified crop for cultivation in 15 years, handing a victory to DuPont (DD +1.4%) over objections from most of the EU's member states.
- At a meeting of EU ministers today, 19 out of the bloc's 28 nations opposed approving the 1507 corn developed by DuPont, but that wasn't a big enough majority to prevent the European Commission from approving the corn.
- DuPont first sought approval for the crop 12 years ago but is now on the verge of success after multiple scientific safety reviews and several decisions by the European Court of Justice criticizing the Commission for delaying a decision.
- Only one other genetically modified crop is allowed to be grown in the EU, a corn developed by Monsanto (MON) that is resistant to corn borer; it was approved by the bloc in 1998.
Feb. 6, 2014, 11:56 AM
- The market seems to view DuPont (DD +1.3%) as a stodgy chemical company, but it is one of the world's biggest sellers of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers and other crop protection products; a Barron's profile says shares could climb 20% as investors start to give DuPont credit for those businesses.
- DuPont delivered better than expected Q4 earnings last week, helped by fast-growing sales in its agriculture division; the unit contributed ~40% of 2013 operating profit and is DD's fastest-growing business, with sales that could rise at a double-digit rate during the next few years.
- Compared with companies focused on agriculture chemical products, DD has been trading at a discount, at 14.2x estimated 2014 earnings; investors pay 19x-20x estimated earnings for Monsanto (MON) and Potash (POT).
Jan. 28, 2014, 6:41 PM
- Critics of genetically modified crops protested at Monsanto's (MON) annual shareholders meeting today, calling for the company to provide a report on contamination in non-GMO crops and to stop fighting mandatory labels on foods containing GMO ingredients.
- The requests came in the form of two shareholder resolutions that were backed by environmental, food safety and consumer activists groups which claimed that more than 2.6M members support their efforts; both resolutions failed easily after MON recommended their rejection.
- Company officials say the debate over GMO crops has prompted them to rethink how they communicate about their products.
Jan. 28, 2014, 5:50 PM
Jan. 13, 2014, 10:56 AM
- The Supreme Court rejects organic farmers and seed sellers who want to challenge Monsanto's (MON) patents on genetically modified seeds, leaving intact a federal appeals court decision that threw out a lawsuit against MON and pointed to the company’s promise not to sue farmers whose crops contain traces of its products.
- The farmers argued that MON’s promise is inadequate because it applies only to contamination up to 1%.
Jan. 13, 2014, 8:48 AM
- Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR) are up 30% before the bell.
- The company says it has signed an option agreement under which Monsanto (MON) can license TKMR's delivery technology.
- TKMR says the value of the option could reach $86.2M "following the successful completion of milestones."
- TKMR also notes it is expecting a "near-term payment" of $16.5M.
- MON has conducted initial testing of the technology in agriculture and the new agreement "will now focus on the development of new innovative biological solutions for farmers."
- The option period is expected to be four years. (PR)
Jan. 9, 2014, 2:39 PM
- Monsanto (MON -3%) sinks after J.P. Morgan downgrades shares to Neutral from Overweight, seeing domestic corn prices at risk, which could limit pricing power, and likely lower planted corn acres in the U.S. and Brazil, which would challenge corn seed volumes.
- Glyphosate prices and earnings may come under pressure in H2 2014 or during 2015 given China trends, the firm adds.
- Morgan Stanley is more charitable, reiterating its Overweight rating and $150 price target on shares, citing a "solid" FQ1 performance against a demanding comp in corn, increased R&D and SG&A expense due to the Climate Corp. acquisition, further write-offs in fruits and vegetables, and a cotton acreage headwind; the firm expects MON will achieve at least the low end of its price/mix guidance.
Jan. 8, 2014, 3:25 PM
- Monsanto (MON +1.5%) tells analysts during its earnings call that it's making good progress on development of an herbicide-tolerant wheat, but commercial use of what would be the world's first biotech wheat remains several years away.
- MON says the herbicide-tolerant wheat performed well enough in field testing to move from the "proof of concept" phase to early development work.
- CEO Hugh Grant also says "there's more volatility and more headwinds across agriculture than there has been in the last few years."
- The order book is tracking well with 2014 targets, MON says, reflecting a strong end to the U.S. harvest for the company's products; customer pre-pays are up Y/Y and confirm a solid commitment behind the order book.
Jan. 8, 2014, 8:48 AM
- Monsanto (MON) -0.2% premarket after reporting better than expected FQ1 earnings as higher sales of its insect-repelling soybean seeds offset a decline in sales from its corn portfolio.
- Corn seed and traits segment sales grew 7.5% to $1.05B amid growth in the soybean portfolio; gross margin rose to 49.7% from 47.5%.
- MON confirms downside guidance for FY 2014 with EPS of $5.00-$5.20, below analyst estimates, but continues to expect strong operational growth from its core business, reflected in mid-to-high teens growth in EBITDA.
- Regarding the coming U.S. planting season, MON says the pace of its U.S. order book and strong pre-pays are tracking well with 2014 targets.
Jan. 8, 2014, 8:03 AM
Jan. 8, 2014, 12:05 AM
Jan. 7, 2014, 5:30 PM
Jan. 7, 2014, 10:17 AM
- Monsanto (MON -1.7%) is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Topeka Capital, which cites valuation and heightened risk.
- The firm believes MON can execute against the current muted agriculture sentiment, delivering on 12% EPS growth in FY 2014 as the midpoint of the company's current $5.00-$5.20 guidance range implies, but achieving a better result may increasingly become a challenge, given the potentially meaningful shift this year to domestic soy from corn acreage.
Jan. 6, 2014, 12:35 PM
- The Obama administration is considering measures to toughen rules on fertilizer plants, farmers and oil drillers using or storing explosive chemicals such as those tied to a fatal blast in rural Texas last year, Bloomberg reports.
- Among policies being considered: lowering the threshold at which the government would be notified that ammonium nitrate is being used or stored; requiring farmers and oil drillers to report on explosive chemicals they possess; and adding chemicals to the hazardous substances lists.
- Related stocks: POT, CF, TNH, MOS, IPI, AGU, MON, BG, SQM.
Jan. 6, 2014, 10:07 AM
- Monsanto (MON +0.1%) is enjoying some analyst love ahead of its Jan. 8 earnings report, as Susquehanna's Don Carson raises his target price on the shares to $145 from $128 and Morgan Stanley lifts its target to a Street-high $150 on "positive seed dynamics" with a bull case target of $200/share.
- Carson expects MON to raise its FY 2014 guidance.
Jan. 3, 2014, 5:48 PM
- The USDA says it is leaning towards approval of Dow AgroSciences' (DOW) genetically modified Enlist corn and soybeans that have been heavily criticized by groups who say they will harm the environment.
- The Enlist seeds are designed to be used in combination with a new herbicide developed by DOW that combines the weed-killers 2,4-D, known for its use in the Agent Orange defoliant, and glyphosate.
- DOW says the crops and the herbicide combination will help combat an explosion of crop-choking weeds around the U.S. that have become resistant to glyphosate, the chief ingredient in the Roundup herbicide sold by rival Monsanto (MON).
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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