It's becoming increasingly harder to figure out whether Monsanto
It's really a tale of two product lines for Monsanto. The seed and trait business is growing and competing well against -- and sometimes with -- DuPont
Its Roundup product, on the other hand, is headed in the wrong direction. Once a cash cow, Roundup now faces generic competition, and a glut of chemical herbicides in the supply chain is pushing down prices. Unlike drug companies such as Pfizer
In a couple of years, it's not going to matter much: By 2012, the company expects that seeds and licensed traits will make up 85% of the company's total gross profit. But in the meantime, the drop is hurting the bottom line.
Earnings per share, after adding back restructuring charges, are expected to come in between $3.10 to $3.30, a sharp decline from the $4.40 or so that's expected from the recently completed year. Trading at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of more than 24, Monsanto is a little cheaper than we've seen in the past, but it doesn't leave investors much breathing room, if Roundup sales continue to fall faster than expected.