Monsanto Company Earnings Weighed Down by Forecast

Tractor in field on farm
Tractor in field on farm

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) reported third-quarter fiscal 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The fertilizer and seed maker reported adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.66 on revenue of $4.25 billion. In the same period a year ago, Monsanto reported adjusted diluted EPS of $1.63 on revenue of $4.22 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.60 and $4.41 billion in revenue.

On a GAAP basis, diluted third-quarter EPS totaled $1.68.

Monsanto reaffirmed its full-year adjusted EPS guidance of $4.50 to $4.55 and earnings growth in 2014 in the mid-teens. The consensus estimate for 2013 EPS is $4.60, and the estimate for 2014 is $5.30. Monsanto's guidance is weaker for this year, and pretty much in line with the consensus estimate for next year.

Monsanto's CEO said:

[W]e're on track to deliver more than 20 percent ongoing earnings growth in fiscal year 2013 and in a very strong position to build on that success with continued growth next year. Our optimism reflects the expanding opportunity we see to unlock successive layers of growth next year and beyond as our focus on farmers, new product platforms and operating efficiency combine to build continued momentum.

The company has posted EPS of $5.01 for the first nine months of its fiscal year, and analysts are expecting a net loss of $0.35 per share for the fourth quarter ending in August. The math works out to full-year EPS of $4.66, higher than either Monsanto's own estimate or the consensus estimate of $4.60. Shares could get beaten up today.

Monsanto's shares are up fractionally in pre-market trading this morning, at $101.40 in a 52-week range of $76.89 to $109.33. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $117.10 before today's report.

Filed under: Investing Tagged: MON