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No recession here: Monsanto sales hit record levels

Glyphosate-based herbicide sales for Monsanto are considerably lower than they were a year ago. But, that hasn't stopped the company from another quarter of record sales and healthy profits, as Monsanto officials announced Thursday.

Overall, second-quarter and first-half sales, both announced Thursday, exceeded previous records, while gross profits were up, but at a slower pace of climb, at 14% and 25% for the quarter and first half of '09, respectively. This amounts to a $4.04 billion figure for total net sales for Monsanto in the second quarter, up from $3.727 billion for the same time a year ago.

"Through the first half of the year, we've done what we had committed to do: We've preserved value across the portfolio, which has allowed us to lift gross profit by 25%, margins by 5%, and ongoing earnings by 41%," says Monsanto president and CEO Hugh Grant. "We've leveraged our SG&A while maintaining an R&D spend that will allow us to launch two major new products in 2010. That growth, combined with spending and working capital discipline, is keeping us on track for more than 20% growth in earnings for the full fiscal year and allowed us to maintain our $1.8 billion guidance for free cash generation."

One figure did pop out in Thursday's report of Monsanto's earnings. The sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides were significantly lower in the first quarter of '09 versus the same period in 2008. This year's first quarter saw $776 million in glyphosate sales versus last year's first quarter sales of $982 million, according to a Monsanto report.

Specific to other sectors, corn seed and traits accounted for $2.08 billion in the second quarter of '09, compared to $1.75 billion in the same term a year ago. Soybean seed and traits followed that trend, with $615 million in sales for the quarter, up from $455 million a year ago. Cotton seed and trait sales, however, were slightly lower than a year ago.

Glyphosate-based herbicide sales for Monsanto are considerably lower than they were a year ago. But, that hasn't stopped the company from another quarter of record sales and healthy profits, as Monsanto officials announced Thursday.

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