ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Monsanto Co. said Thursday its fiscal first-quarter earnings soared on strength of its seed business. The company also brightened its outlook for the full fiscal year.

Its shares rose more than 5 percent Thursday.

Monsanto said its net income rose to $126 million, or 23 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 30. That's up from $9 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue leaped 33 percent to $2.44 billion from $1.84 billion a year earlier. Monsanto said growth was driven by demand for corn throughout Latin America.

Sales in Monsanto's seeds and genomics segment increased 32 percent to $1.5 billion, reflecting the strength in Latin America and some timing benefits from its Australian cotton business.

Overall, sales of corn seed and traits rose 46 percent, while sales of cotton seeds and traits jumped 73 percent.

"We've seen a very strong start to the year, with real growth in Latin America and early orders in the United States that underscore our sustained momentum carrying into 2012," Chairman, President and CEO Hugh Grant said.

FactSet says analysts expected earnings of 16 cents per share on revenue of $2.05 billion.

For all of fiscal 2012, the St. Louis company expects earnings per share of between $3.39 and $3.44, which is at the high end of its previous expectation of a growth percentage in the "mid-teens." Analysts expect earnings of $3.47 per share.

Its shares rose $4.01, or 5.5 percent, to close at $76.68 Thursday. Its 52-week high of $78.71 was set in late October.

Copyright 2012 The AP.

Recommended for you