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) -- Agriculture products concern



announced Wednesday morning that its losses grew in the fourth quarter compared to last year, as sales dipped.

Monsanto reported a $233 million loss, or 43 cents per share, compared to a loss of $172 million, or 31 cents, in the year-ago quarter. But after accounting for items, including restructuring charges, Monsanto said it produced an EPS of 2 cents on an ongoing basis, compared to a 3-cent loss last year.

Total sales ticked slightly lower in the quarter, landing at 1.88 billion compared to 2.05 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Herbicide revenue, in particular, fell to $778 million in the quarter from $936 million.

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A group of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 1-cent EPS, along with $1.97 billion in revenue.

Monsanto also affirmed its 2010 ongoing earnings per share picture, saying it should range between $3.10 and $3.30.

Shares rose 0.8% in premarket trading.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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