WASHINGTON (AP) — Monsanto reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday on higher sales of the company's biotech soybean seeds and its signature herbicide Roundup.
Its earnings rose 8 percent, and its shares rose more than 2 percent in morning trading.
The St. Louis-based company said it earned $368 million, or 69 cents per share in the three months ended Nov. 30. That compares to earnings of $339 million, or 63 cents per share, in last year's quarter.
Revenue climbed 7 percent to $3.1 billion, driven by sales of its Intacta soybean seeds to farmers in Argentina and Brazil. The biotech engineered soybean, which is the company's first product designed for a non-U.S. market, repels caterpillars and withstands Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. Soybean sales grew 16 percent to $267 million for the quarter.
The company's performance beat the average estimate of analysts polled by FactSet. The consensus estimate was for earnings of 64 cents per share on sales of $3.069 billion in revenue for the quarter.
Its shares rose $3.26, or 2.9 percent, to $116.07 in morning trading.
Monsanto reiterated previous expectations of earnings between $5 and $5.20 per share for fiscal 2014. Analysts expected earnings of $5.25 for the year.
Monsanto, which has dominated the bioengineered-seed business for more than a decade, expects earnings growth in the "mid-to-high teens" for fiscal 2014, based largely on international seed sales in Latin America, Asia and other emerging markets.
The company's biotech seeds have genetically engineered traits that the company says benefit farmers enough that they come out ahead, despite the seeds' higher cost.
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