Monsanto Company : Update Target Price $149



US$109.73 BUY 
Target: US$149.00 ↓

Company Description

Monsanto is a leading global provider of seeds,
biotechnology traits, and glyphosates. The company
operates two segments: Seeds and Genomics and
Agricultural Productivity. The seeds and genomics
segment consists primarily of soybeans, corn, cotton, and
vegetable seed brands, as well as biotechnology traits
that help control weeds and insects. The agricultural
productivity segment consists of crop protection,
including glyphosates.
All amounts in US$ unless otherwise noted.

Agriculture — Biotechnology

Investment highlights
 Monsanto reported adjusted Q4/F14 EPS of US$(0.27) versus our
and consensus estimate of US$(0.24). F2015 annual guidance was
provided at US$5.75-6.00 versus our original estimate of US$6.04
and consensus of US$6.01. This guidance is in line with
management’s prior comments of double-digit to mid-teen growth
in F15 EPS.
 Operationally, we expect further improvement in Seeds & Genomics
in F15, with our expectation of YOY gross margin growth of 11.7%.
We expect to see a continued lift in the product portfolio (a
laddering-up, if you will), with farmers seeing an increased bill (a
benefit to Monsanto) but being offset by increased yield to the
farmer (a benefit to the farmer). As the fiscal year unfolds, we
anticipate confirmation of the 10-12M acres of Intacta and a good
(although delayed) order book for the US spring, both of which we
see as comforting highlights for investors through a more
challenging commodity price environment
We continue to rate the shares of Monsanto a Buy but have lowered our
target price to US$149 (from US$155 previously) based upon a 21.5x
multiple (from 22x previously) to our F16 EPS. The reduction in our
multiple is due to the general commodity pricing environment and
investors’ increased conservative approach towards agriculture equities.


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