5. Monsanto (MON), operating through its subsidiaries, supplies agricultural products including seed, biotechnology trait products and herbicides to farmers. Monsanto manages two business segments: seeds and genomics; and agricultural productivity. The company's solutions improve productivity and reduce farming costs.
During the third quarter of fiscal 2011, revenue increased 21% year-over-year to $3.6 billion from $2.96 billion. Gross profit rose 41%, led by agricultural productivity. Gross margin improved 700 bps to 54% during this period.
Monsanto reported earnings of $680 million, or $1.26 per share, compared to $384 million, or 70 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. The company generated free-cash flows of $237 million during the first nine months of fiscal 2011 over negative $1152 million during the corresponding period in 2010.Of the 22 analysts covering the stock, 64% recommend a buy. On average, analysts estimate 29% upside from current levels. The stock has gained 31% in the last one year and is trading at 21.9 times its estimated 2011 earnings.
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