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Monsanto Herbicide Sales Slide

Monsanto Co. reported a quarterly loss Jan. 6 instead of the break-even results Wall Street had expected, citing a slide in herbicide revenue and a smaller drop in corn and soybean seed sales.

The world’s largest seed company said it was still on track for good gains this year. Shares in Monsanto bounced off early declines and rose later that day as officials laid out new products they say could add $8 billion in gross revenues by 2020 (all figures US$), including new biotech corn and soybean seeds offerings for this spring.

The moves come as Monsanto reduces its reliance on its herbicide business in favour of a focus on the more profitable seeds and genetic traits businesses.

Monsanto on Wednesday posted a net loss of $19 million, or three cents a share, for the first quarter, compared with a year-earlier profit of $556 million.

Overall, net sales decreased $952 million, or 36 per cent, for the period ending Nov. 30, mainly because of decreased sales of its glyphosatebased herbicides, primarily in Brazil and Europe. Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicide sales were off 63 per cent in the quarter as volume and pricing slid.

Gross profit fell to $739 million, down 52 per cent, while the margin dropped 15 percentage points to 44 per cent, due mostly to pricing adjustments for Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides.

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