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An expanded global footprint propels Monsanto past Wall Street's hopes for the second quarter

ST. LOUIS - Monsanto's second-quarter earnings jumped 13 per cent on strength from its core seeds and traits business.

The agriculture products company topped Wall Street expectations for both profit and revenue, sending shares higher Wednesday.

Monsanto earned $1.67 billion, or $3.15 per share, 7 cents better than what analysts polled by FactSet had projected. A year ago, the company earned $1.48 billion, or $2.73 per share.

The performance was particularly strong, given the slow start to a quarter in which winter storms delayed shipments.

Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant said that almost 80 per cent of Monsanto's quarterly growth came from its core seeds and traits business.

Revenue climbed 7 per cent to $5.83 billion, just edging out Wall Street projections.

The expansion of the company's global corn and soybean businesses drove sales throughout the most recent quarter.

Monsanto Co. has dominated the bioengineered-seed business for years and recently began expanding its footprint in emerging markets like Argentina, Brazil and parts of Asia.

While the vast majority of Monsanto's business comes from genetically enhanced seeds and herbicide, the company is also making investments in computerized tools for the agricultural sector.

Last quarter the company announced a new agreement with U.S agricultural distributor WinField to explore collaborations on agriculture-based information technology. And in October, it spent $930 million to acquire the Climate Corp., a Silicon Valley startup that uses weather forecasting and data analysis to increase harvest yields.

The St. Louis company reaffirmed its 2014 forecast for earnings of $5 to $5.20 per share. Wall Street is looking for $5.24 per share.

Shares of Monsanto added 86 cents to reach $114.42 Wednesday.

The Canadian Press

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