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Monsanto Company (MON - Analyst Report) recently raised its expected earnings per share guidance for the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The first quarter earnings were scheduled to be released on January 5, 2012.  The company’s earnings per share guidance for the first-quarter ongoing and as-reported are expected to be in the range of $0.15 to $0.20, an increase from its previous guidance of the high end of the $0.10 to $0.15 range.

The company reaffirmed its full-year guidance, confirming its mid-teens earnings growth outlook for the year. This reflected the company’s strategic growth plan, wherein the company expects the strength of its business in Brazil and Argentina along with the pipeline of new product launch to drive growth during the first quarter.

However, full-year earnings per share and cash flow guidance remain unchanged.  Earnings per share for the full fiscal are expected in the range of $3.34 to $3.44 on an ongoing and as-reported basis. The company projects free cash flow in the range of $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion for fiscal year 2012, with net cash provided by operating activities to be $2.2 billion to $2.5 billion, and net cash required by investing activities to be approximately $900 million to $1 billion.

Thus, in its effort to sustain the above growth target, the company has lined up a series of new and exclusive products along with Advanced Breeding Program for 2012. Industry leading, DEKALB will provide a full launch for Genuity® SmartStax® RIB Complete™ and Genuity® VT Double PRO® RIB Complete™ blended corn products in 2012.  The new product will be offering the farmers a convenient and time saving single-bag refuge management solution. This solution will incorporate the lowest refuge at 5%, in the Corn-Growing Area for higher whole farm yield potential. Moreover, DEKALB will also continue to offer a portfolio of top-performing products featuring Genuity® VT Triple PRO® trait technology.

In a separate story, Monsanto Company has recently been reported to have declared a quarterly dividend on its common stock of $0.30 per share. The dividend will be payable on January 27, 2012 to shareowners of record as of January 6, 2012.  It relates to the first quarter of the company's 2012 fiscal year.

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of agricultural products for farmers, operating in Seeds and Genomics and Agricultural Productivity segments. Monsanto’s biotechnology research and innovations position it as a market leader above its peers, viz, Syngenta AG (SYT - Analyst Report), The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (SMG - Snapshot Report), The Dow Chemical Company (DOW - Analyst Report) and BASF SE.      

We currently maintain a long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock.

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