US Monsanto looks to Latin America, China, E Europe for growth

04 April 2012 17:04  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--While strong underlying fundamentals in agriculture will continue to boost sales in North America, US agricultural products firm Monsanto said on Wednesday that Latin America, China and Eastern Europe represent good growth opportunities.

"Large existing footprints for branded seed products in both Brazil and Argentina will enable faster penetration for new biotech trait introductions," said Monsanto chief executive Hugh Grant during a conference call with investors.

Monsanto is the market leader in hybrid corn seed sales in both Brazil and Argentina.

In Eastern Europe, the corn export market is expanding as Middle East and North Africa grow in population and income level.

"There is significant potential to rapidly increase yield as farmers adopt better agronomic practices and invest in high-value seeds," Grant said.

In China, the world's second largest corn seed market behind the US, the market is highly fragmented and made up of thousands of companies and millions of farmers.

"Corn yields in China are equivalent to US yields from the 1970's and a significant opportunity to improve yields exists," said Grant.

Since 2001, Monsanto has had a joint venture with China National Seed Group. The joint venture creates access for Monsanto in this important geography, Monsanto said.

Monsanto on Wednesday reported that fiscal 2012 second-quarter net income rose 19% year on year to $1.21bn (€920m), driven by a strong performance of its seeds and traits business.

Monsanto's sales for the three months ended 29 February rose 15% year on year to $4.75bn, primarily because of global gains in corn and a strong selling season in the US, the company said.

Monsanto raised its full-year ongoing earnings per share guidance to $3.49-$3.54, from previous guidance in January of $3.39-$3.44.

"With a comprehensive set of research and development platforms for yield in place, Monsanto is well positioned to launch significant yield advancements throughout the coming decade," Grant said.

By: Frank Zaworski
+1 713 525 2653

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