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.
Oct. 2, 2014, 2:59 PM
- Fertilizer producers are mostly lower after Agrium (AGU -1.9%) announced weak guidance for H2 of its FY 2014: POT -2%, MOS -0.9%, OTCPK:YARIY -2.8%, IPI -2.3%, RNF -1.2%, but CF +2.4%.
- Canaccord and Piper Jaffray downwardly revised their 12-month price targets for the stock, by a respective 1.9% to $102 while reiterating a Buy rating and by 4.2% to $92 while maintaining a Neutral rating; however, BMO and RBC each reiterated their Outperform ratings on the stock with respective target prices of $99 and $115.
- Jim Cramer thinks AGU's woes could reverberate throughout the ag sector, at least in the near-term, with selling possibly spread to the likes of Monsanto (MON -0.4%), Syngenta (SYT +0.1%), Deere (DE +0.1%) and Agco (AGCO +1%).
Sep. 10, 2014, 12:59 PM
- Monsanto (MON -1.5%) moves off earlier lows prompted by a report from OTR Global warning that weak Intacta demand is unlikely to absorb supply.
- Seed dealers and producers in Brazil and Argentina report weaker than expected sales of the genetically engineered soybeans, OTR says in cutting its rating on MON to Negative from Mixed.
- A MON spokesperson disputes those conclusions, saying Intacta demand is on pace to reach a goal of 10M-12M acres this year and pre-pays are greater than expected.
Jun. 27, 2014, 8:16 AM
- DuPont (DD) -3.1% premarket after cutting its Q2 and FY 2014 earnings outlook, pointing to slower than expected sales growth in its agriculture and performance chemicals units.
- DD said in a conference call that it expects Q2 operating earnings in its agriculture business to fall in the low teens in percentage terms, with corn pricing in North America expected to be slightly lower than its previous estimate and returns of unused corn seeds in Brazil to be higher than anticipated.
- Dow Chemical (DOW) -0.7% premarket; chemical peers FMC, SYT, MON, LYB, CE and HUN also will be on watch today.
Jun. 25, 2014, 11:39 AM
- Monsanto (MON +5%) says in its FQ3 earnings conference call that it is delivering growth commitments despite the toughest macro agriculture environment in several years, and that its upside guidance reflects estimated a $0.15-$0.20 EPS headwind largely driven by currency.
- Goldman Sachs maintains its Buy rating on the shares even as MON's FQ3 earnings beat was "not great" and the guidance raise was below expectations; the firm believes it is outweighed by the sheer size of the share repurchase program.
- MON is shifting its capital redeployment strategy from acquisitions to share repurchases and will be more aggressive going forward, Goldman says; it also views MON's five-year growth plan calling for mid-teens CAGR to $10-plus of EPS in 2019 as an endorsement of continued growth.
Jun. 25, 2014, 9:10 AM
Jun. 25, 2014, 8:47 AM
- Monsanto (MON) +5.5% premarket and perhaps set to open at a new all-time high after beating FQ3 earnings estimates, raising its full-year outlook on a strong outlook for its seeds and traits business, and announcing a $10B share buyback program.
- Raises its full-year EPS and free cash flow guidance to the the upper end of previous ranges; sees EPS of $5.10-$5.20 vs. earlier forecast of $5.00-$5.20 and $5.25 analyst consensus estimate, and free cash flow at the upper end of $700M-$800M range.
- In its new two-year $10B share purchase program, MON says it is targeting $6B in stock buybacks starting in the near term and spanning up to 12 months.
- Gross margin rose to 54.8% from 53.2%.
Jun. 23, 2014, 12:44 PM
- Monsanto (MON +0.4%) recently explored a takeover of Swiss rival Syngenta (SYT +5.1%) in a potential $40B deal that would have allowed the U.S. firm to move its tax location to Switzerland, according to a Bloomberg report.
- The two companies held preliminary talks with advisers in recent months about a combination before SYT decided against negotiations, the report says; while talks are currently on hold, sources say the deal could be revived.
- MON jumped to a new all-time high at $123.99, and has since pulled back to ~$122.
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. 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.
Nov. 5, 2013, 7:54 AM
- Monsanto (MON) +2.2% premarket after announcing a $1B public debt offering, with $400M in three-year bonds, $300M in five-year bonds and $300M in 30-year bonds.
- MON intends to use the net proceeds, together with available cash, to repay debt issued to finance the acquisition of The Climate Corp. and for other general corporate purposes.
Oct. 4, 2013, 3:35 PM
- Dow Chemical (DOW +2.8%) reveals plans to challenge Monsanto’s (MON +0.2%) insect-repelling soybeans for South America with beans engineered to kill pests with two added genes.
- MON estimates the market for its Intacta beans, which are being introduced on 3M acres this year and have one Bt gene to control bugs, at 100M acres; Dow says having two Bt genes with different modes of action will slow insects’ ability to overcome the technology.
- Dow says the new soybeans should be available in Brazil and Argentina in three to five years, pending regulatory approvals.
Oct. 2, 2013, 8:40 AM
- More on Monsanto's (MON) FQ4 results: Net sales rose 5% Y/Y to $2.2B from $2.1B, while total operating expenses increased to $1.21B from $1.14B.
- For FY 2013, Seeds and Genomics segment sales totaled $10.3B, led by its global corn portfolio that gained 13% Y/Y; segment sales in FQ4 were ~$1.2B; the segment is expected to be the biggest driver of growth, with expectations to mid-teens gross profit growth in FY 2014.
- Plans to pay $930M to acquire the Climate Corporation, which it describes as a leader in agriculture analytics and risk management.
- Sees FY 2014 EPS of $5.00-$5.20 after $0.14 in acquisition-related dilution; analysts had been expecting $5.33.
- Shares -2.1% premarket.
Aug. 13, 2013, 2:19 PM
- Monsanto (MON +1.6%) is maintained as a Conviction Buy with a $122 price target by Goldman Sachs, which sees the recent share price decline as overdone given MON's historical precedent for strong earnings growth even following declining corn prices.
- Fades in corn prices are common, but so too are subsequent strong MON corn earnings results, the firm writes; the only decline in corn profits in the past decade for MON came in 2010, which Goldman attributes more to product launch issues with SmartStax than corn price declines.
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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