The seed producer and Roundup bottler Monsanto announced that its profits had doubled in the quarter ending on November 30. The company also raised its full-year per-share earnings expectation. The combination of good earnings and high expectations pushed the company’s stock up 18% in after hours trading. Monsanto stock was down 37% in 2008.
Purchases of corn seed — particularly by Brazilian farmers — and sales of the weed-killer Roundup were at the heart of the company’s increases in profits. The company’s CEO said the company would maintain high prices for seed because the company believes farmers will pay for a product that increases yield.
Monsanto hopes to double profit by 2012. The company is developing a new drought-tolerant corn, which is in the final stages of research. Monsanto is seeking clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. U.S. farmers will plant about 90 million acres of corn this year, and as many as 35 million will be sown with Monsanto seed, an approximately 20% increase from last year. Monsanto expects to grab as much as 2 percentage points of additional U.S. market share in corn, the ninth consecutive yearly gain, according to the company.