(By Balachander) Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON) reported a wider-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter amid a 6 percent drop in sales and guided 2013 earnings below market projections, and its shares retreated 3.23 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday.
Net loss widened to $229 million or $0.42 per share for the fourth quarter from a loss of $112 million or $0.21 per share in the comparable period of last year. On an ongoing basis, loss per share widened to 44 cents from 22 cents, while Wall Street analysts forecast a loss of 42 cents.
Sales declined 6 percent to $2.11 billion, versus market expectations of flat sales. Seeds and Genomics sales decreased 10.4 percent.
Segment wise, sales of Corn seed and traits fell 12.4 percent and Cotton seed and traits sales were down 84 percent.
Operating expenses increased 8.7 percent.
Looking ahead for the full year 2013, the provider of agricultural products expects ongoing earnings per share in the range of $4.18 to $4.32, below consensus estimate of $4.38.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $58.89 to $91.95, ended at $90.94 on Tuesday.