Profits Climb at Monsanto

Earnings are better than expected.
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said its third-quarter sales and earnings advanced year over year thanks to strong results from its seeds and traits business.

The St. Louis-based company, a developer of agricultural technologies, said net sales for the quarter rose to $2.84 billion from $2.31 billion last year.

Net income climbed to $570 million from $334 million. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.02, 4 cents better than estimates and up from 58 cents last year.

Earlier this month, Monsanto said it was increasing its fiscal 2007 ongoing EPS guidance to $1.75 to $1.80, up from its prior forecast of $1.60 to $1.65. The outlook excludes the effect of the Stoneville and NexGen divestitures and the write-off of acquired in-process R&D associated with the acquisition of Delta & Pine Land.

Shares of Monsanto rose 1.4% early Thursday.