Monsanto shifts focus away from big deals, posts lowest Q2 profit since 2011

Monsanto Co. is no longer in the market for major acquisitions, chief executive Hugh Grant said in the company’s quarterly conference call Wednesday. After 2015 saw the Creve Coeur-based seed company repeatedly rebuffed in attempts to acquire Swiss pesticide-maker Syngenta AG, Monsanto will shift its focus to licensing and partnership deals and smaller acquisitions, according to Grant.

Monsanto also reported its smallest second-quarter profit and sales since 2011, as a global slump in farm commodities persists.

Net income attributable to the company fell to $1.06 billion, or $2.41 per share, for the quarter. That’s down from $1.43 billion, or $2.92 per share, a year earlier. Net sales dropped 12.8 percent to $4.53 billion.

The slowdown in commodities prices has prompted an uptick in mergers and acquisitions across the industry, with Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. agreeing to a deal in December and China National Chemical Corp., or ChemChina, snapping up Syngenta in February.

Monsanto was exploring deals with BASF SE and Bayer AG, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg in late March. But Wednesday’s conference call seems to signal a strategic shift for the seed-maker.

Read more: Bloomberg, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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