Feb 12, 2008
NEW YORK, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Monsanto (NYSE: MON) has raised its fiscal year 2008 ongoing earnings per share (EPS) guidance to a range of $2.70 to $2.80, compared with its previously announced range of $2.50 to $2.60, reflecting increased confidence in its seed and traits business commitments and continuing strong performance of its Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides business, Monsanto's Executive Vice President of Global Commercial business, Brett Begemann, will tell investors today. Monsanto now expects its glyphosate business could deliver between $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion of gross profit in fiscal year 2008. Begemann will also confirm that Monsanto's seed and traits business is expected to contribute approximately $3.5 billion of gross profit in fiscal year 2008. (For a discussion of ongoing EPS, see note 1.)
Begemann will deliver his remarks as part of a presentation at Goldman Sachs' 2008 AgForum Conference held in New York. During his presentation, he will also note that Monsanto's guidance for free cash flow for fiscal year 2008 is now at the upper end of its previously announced range of $900 million to $1 billion. The company expects net cash provided by operating activities to be in the range of $1.95 billion to $2.05 billion, and net cash required by investing activities to be approximately $1.05 billion for fiscal year 2008. (For a reconciliation of free cash flow, see note 1.)
"The value of our seeds and traits strategy -- and the power of our innovation -- is once again playing itself out in our earnings growth and free cash generation," Begemann said. "This value is reflected both in the expansion of our seed market share and trait penetration globally, but also in the revival of our Roundup and non-branded glyphosate franchise."
Begemann will outline a number of factors that are contributing to the company's growth in 2008 and its expectations for additional growth in the near-term. These factors include:
-- Roundup business gross profit accelerates: Monsanto expects that its Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides business could deliver between $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion of gross profit in fiscal year 2008, backed by increased volumes and prices globally. The improved performance is being driven by increased Roundup Ready acres, increased adoption of conservation tillage practices, and competitive pricing. -- Strong early-season order patterns: Monsanto is seeing strong early-season order patterns in its U.S. corn seed and traits business. Begemann confirmed that Monsanto's DEKALB corn seed brand in the United States could realize an increase of 2 to 3 share points this year and noted that Monsanto's triple-stack trait product could be planted on 25-to-27 million acres in the United States, an increase of approximately 50 percent over the prior year. -- American Seeds Inc. (ASI) set to support growth in U.S. corn market: Monsanto expects that its ASI corn seed business could realize growth of 1 to 2 share points this year in the U.S. corn seed market. If realized, ASI could attain share of greater than 10 percent this season. -- Argentine farmers embrace yield-advantage of DEKALB corn seed, YieldGard Corn Borer: Monsanto's DEKALB corn seed brand realized a 5 share point gain for a second consecutive season in Argentina, eclipsing previous growth projections of 1 to 2 share points this year. DEKALB's growth has it well positioned for the broad commercial introduction of the first stacked trait corn offering in the country, Monsanto's YieldGard Corn Borer with Roundup Ready Corn 2. Monsanto estimates that the higher-margin stacked offering, which was planted on 100,000 acres in its first year of availability, will make up 30 percent to 40 percent of its branded corn seed portfolio next season. -- Brazilian corn seed businesses hold share, set up future growth: Monsanto confirmed that its corn brands, DEKALB, Agroceres and Agroeste, are expected to collectively hold share at 40 percent of the Brazilian corn seed market. The performance of these brands, which is in line with the company's commitment, serves as a foundation for both organic growth of 1 to 2 share points next season and for future trait offerings, such as YieldGard Corn Borer, once approved by Brazilian officials. -- Asgrow, ASI supports growth in U.S. soybean market, sets footprint for future traits: Monsanto's Asgrow soybean business is expected to realize organic growth of 1 share point annually between now and 2012. ASI's soybean business is also expected to realize organic growth of half-a-share point annually between now and 2012. This growth establishes the footprint for the introduction of second-generation technologies and stacked offerings. -- Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans approvals positive step toward launch: Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans received import approvals in several Asian markets last week and is slated to be available to farmers in the 2009 season. These approvals increase the company's confidence in meeting its 1-to-2 million acre controlled launch in 2009, and a step closer to its full-scale 5-to-6 million acre launch planned for 2010. -- Brazilian soybean farmers expand use of Roundup Ready soybeans: Monsanto now estimates that Brazilian soybean farmers used its Roundup Ready technology on 55 percent of acres this season, an increase of 10 percent compared with planted acres in 2007. More than half of the Roundup Ready acres were sold as certified seed. The growth represents a positive step toward the 90 percent penetration level the company estimates for the end of the decade. The adoption also establishes the footprint for the introduction of insect-protected Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans, expected after the turn of the decade.
Begemann's presentation slides and a simultaneous audio webcast of the presentation will be available through the investor section of Monsanto's website at http://www.monsanto.com/investors. Following today's live broadcast, scheduled for 12:40 p.m. ET, a replay of the webcast will be available for two weeks through this same link.
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. For more information on Monsanto, see: http://www.monsanto.com/.
Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information:
Certain statements contained in this release are "forward-looking statements," such as statements concerning the company's anticipated financial results, current and future product performance, regulatory approvals, business and financial plans and other non-historical facts. These statements are based on current expectations and currently available information. However, since these statements are based on factors that involve risks and uncertainties, the company's actual performance and results may differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among others: continued competition in seeds, traits and agricultural chemicals; the company's exposure to various contingencies, including those related to intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance and the speed with which approvals are received, and public acceptance of biotechnology products; the success of the company's research and development activities; the outcomes of major lawsuits, including proceedings related to Solutia Inc.; developments related to foreign currencies and economies; successful operation of recent acquisitions; fluctuations in commodity prices; compliance with regulations affecting our manufacturing; the accuracy of the company's estimates related to distribution inventory levels; the company's ability to fund its short-term financing needs and to obtain payment for the products that it sells; the effect of weather conditions, natural disasters and accidents on the agriculture business or the company's facilities; and other risks and factors detailed in the company's most recent periodic report to the SEC. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which are current only as of the date of this release. The company disclaims any current intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements or any of the factors that may affect actual results.
Monsanto Company Selected Financial Information (Dollars in millions) Unaudited 1. Ongoing EPS and Free Cash Flow: The presentations of ongoing EPS and free cash flow are not intended to replace net income (loss), cash flows, financial position or comprehensive income (loss), and they are not measures of financial performance as determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in the United States. Ongoing EPS is calculated excluding certain after-tax items which Monsanto does not consider part of ongoing operations. Due to the current status of Solutia's plan of reorganization, the company is not currently able to estimate the impact to the company's reported earnings of any potential outcome or to reflect any potential impact in its 2008 guidance. Reconciliation of Free Cash Flow: The following table reconciles free cash flow to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP. Free cash flow represents the total of cash flows from operating activities and investing activities, as reflected in the Statements of Consolidated Cash Flows presented in this release. With respect to the fiscal year 2008 free cash flow guidance, Monsanto does not include any estimates or projections of Net Cash Provided (Required) by Financing Activities because in order to prepare any such estimate or projection, Monsanto would need to rely on market factors and conditions that are outside of its control.
Notes to editors: Asgrow, Agroeste, Agroceres DEKALB, Roundup, Roundup Ready, Roundup Ready 2 Yield and YieldGard are trademarks of Monsanto Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries. References to Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides in this release exclude lawn-and-garden herbicide products.
Fiscal Year 2008 Guidance Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities $1,950 - $2,050 Net Cash Required by Investing Activities (1,050) Free Cash Flow $900 - $1,000 Net Cash Required by Financing Activities N/A Effect of Exchange Rate Changes on Cash and Cash Equivalents N/A Net Increase (Decrease) in Cash and Cash Equivalents N/A Cash and Cash Equivalents at Beginning of Period N/A Cash and Cash Equivalents at End of Period N/A
SOURCE: Monsanto Company
CONTACT: Media, Danielle Jany, +1-314-694-2478, or Lee Quarles,
+1-314-406-5739, or Investors, Scarlett Lee Foster, +1-314-694-8148, all for
Web site: http://www.monsanto.com/
Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/114341.html