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Lower RoundUp herbicide sales contribute to fourth quarter loss for Monsanto

(Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- Associated Press:
Agriculture biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. reported a narrower fourth-quarter loss Wednesday, citing slightly lower sales and softening demand for its Roundup herbicide nationwide, but the company raised growth estimates for the next two fiscal years.

The St. Louis-based company said it lost $42 million, or 16 cents per share, in the three-month period ending Aug. 31, compared with a loss of $188 million, or 72 cents, a year ago.

Monsanto said the latest fourth-quarter results include after-tax restructuring charges of $44 million -- $41 million related to continuing operations and $3 million tied to discontinued operations --- and a $5 million tax benefit associated with a goodwill write-off of the global wheat business.

Excluding items, Monsanto would have posted a loss of one cent per share in the latest quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting a profit of three cents per share.

Sales fell to $1.26 billion, from $1.3 billion, as higher revenues for Monsanto's cotton traits in the United States and India were offset by decreased revenue from domestic Roundup sales.

Monsanto boosted its growth projections for fiscal years 2005 and 2006. It said it now expects annual growth for 2005 of ten percent to 18% from fiscal 2004 earnings per share of $1.61 per share on an ongoing basis. The company also expects 2006 earnings to rise ten percent from 2005. It had previously forecast growth of ten percent for both years from the 2004 base.

Monsanto shares gained 26 cents to $36.85 in midday trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.