Monsanto Posts Mixed Q4 Results Ahead of Bayer Merger

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Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The company said that it had $0.07 in earnings per share (EPS) on $2.56 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates had called for a net loss of $0.02 per share and revenue of $2.62 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had a net loss of $0.19 per share on $2.36 billion in revenue.

Seeds and Genomics segment net sales were $1.6 billion for the quarter. For fiscal year 2016, the company realized Seeds and Genomics segment net sales of $10.0 billion, which declined primarily due to unfavorable currency, higher discounting in corn in the United States and price declines in cotton in India as a result of new government regulations. This was partially offset by record U.S. corn seed volumes, the benefit from the alfalfa licensing deal with Forage Genetics and outstanding penetration of Intacta RR2 PRO technology.

At the same time, Agricultural Productivity segment net sales were $997 million. Looking forward to fiscal year 2017, the company plans to maintain its emphasis on cost discipline and a focus on the construction of the new dicamba facility, as well as its strategy to price slightly above generics. This is expected to create another year of pricing headwinds. In addition, the company expects a $140 million benefit from strategic licensing agreements in gross profit for this segment, pending final transaction structures.

In terms of guidance for fiscal 2017, the company expects to have EPS in the range of $4.50 to $4.90 and free cash flow between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion.

On the books, Monsanto’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $1.74 billion at the end of the quarter, down from $3.75 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Hugh Grant, board chair and chief executive of Monsanto, commented:

Despite challenges to our business in fiscal year 2016, we delivered on the drivers that position Monsanto for the return to EPS growth in the year ahead. To see it through, our fiscal year 2017 priorities are focused on delivering on the operational plan and key business milestones for the year, while also executing on the necessary steps to close the deal with Bayer. Ultimately, we believe that combining with Bayer represents the most compelling value for our shareowners, with the most certainty through the all-cash consideration.

Shares of Monsanto were trading at $102.30 Wednesday morning, with a consensus analyst price target of $118.44 and a 52-week trading range of $83.73 to $114.26.