Monsanto sees 2010 earnings at low end of range (AP)

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 | Finance News

NEW YORK – Monsanto Co., the world's largest seed company, said Tuesday it expects full year earnings at the low end of its previous expected range and is cutting up to 700 more jobs.

Its shares fell more than 5 percent in morning trading.

The St. Louis company expects ongoing earnings, which excludes some items, between $2.40 per share and $2.45 per share for the fiscal year that ends Tuesday.

The previous expected range was $2.40 to $2.60 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, who tend to leave out one-time gains and losses from their estimates, on average predict a profit of $2.49 per share.

Monsanto also said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission it is cutting about 650 to 700 more jobs as it continues to restructure its business. The company has more than 20,000 total employees. Monsanto said job reductions will vary from country to country. It didn't specify where it planned to cut the most jobs.

The job cuts will lead to $90 million in severance and benefit costs, $60 million in facility closure expenses and $30 million in asset write-downs.

About $150 million of the charges will be recorded in the fourth quarter.

Monsanto will release fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Oct. 6.

Its shares dropped $3.10, or 5.6 percent, to $52.80 in morning trading.

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