Parsons, Kansas —
WASHINGTON (AP) —Monsanto reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings on higher sales of the company's insect-repelling and herbicide-resistant soybean seeds in Latin America.
Despite an 8.6 percent increase in profit the company left its full-year fiscal guidance unchanged, sending shares slightly lower in premarket trading.
The company reiterated previous expectations of earnings between $5 and $5.20 per share for fiscal 2014. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $5.25 for the year. Its shares slipped 39 cents to $112.85 in premarket 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, who expected earnings of 64 cents per share on sales of $3.069 billion in revenue for the quarter. `
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. £