Letter to Shareowners
As I look toward the future, I see a landscape in which modern agriculture continues to evolve, combining generations of growers’ expertise with products developed using the most promising and emerging technology. Farming will continue to become even more precise, more innovative, and more efficient for growers and consumers.
Your company will evolve as well.
In early fiscal year 2017, we entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto. From delivering new choices even faster to expanding current solutions, this combination will support growers in their efforts to be more productive, more profitable, and more sustainable. Bayer continues to lead the regulatory approval process, and both companies are committed to working constructively with global regulators to conclude the transaction successfully.
In addition to the progress on the pending combination with Bayer, Monsanto advanced its mission to broaden the selection of innovative solutions for growers and delivered solid results for our owners. The company concluded fiscal year 2017 with as-reported earnings per share of $5.09 and ongoing earnings per share of $5.50, as compared to last year’s as-reported earnings per share of $2.99 and ongoing earnings per share of $4.482.
Our innovation resulted in record sales and gross profit in our Seeds and Genomics segment, fueled by the outstanding adoption of our latest soybean and cotton technologies and continued adoption of our newest corn hybrids, reflecting the need for new solutions in what continues to be a challenging agricultural economy.
We grew our strong foundation of seed, trait, digital, and chemistry solutions with the expansion of the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System, Climate FieldView™ platform, and Intacta RR2 PRO™ soybeans. The Climate FieldView platform reached 35 million paid acres in fiscal year 2017 and continued global expansion in Brazil, Europe, and Canada. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans and cotton reached more than 26 million acres in the U.S., showcasing the demand for better weed control.
In the area of sustainability, we established a unified approach to food and nutrition security and reaffirmed our commitments to the United Nations Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals. We also continue to make progress toward achieving a carbon neutral footprint by 2021. While we’re proud of the strides we’ve made in sustainability, we know there is more work to be done and look forward to continued progress.
We’ve made significant advances in 2017, and we expect these to accelerate in 2018. Our commitment to what we value—our customers, our owners, our employees, and our communities —remains as vibrant as ever. I’m proud of what we’ve delivered and look forward to what our future holds.
On behalf of the board of directors and the employees of Monsanto, thank you for your continued support.