ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Co., the world’s biggest seed maker, said Wednesday its third-quarter profit fell 14 per cent and disclosed plans to cut 900 jobs, about four per cent of its work force.
The layoffs and declining profits were a stark turnaround for Monsanto, which has reported improved earnings over the last few years by selling patented, genetically engineered crops worldwide.
Executives said they were caught off guard by the deteriorating performance of the herbicide Roundup, which was once a mainstay revenue source. A flood of generic products gutted prices for the herbicide and Monsanto expects profit from Roundup to drop by half this year.
Monsanto shares fell US$3.14 to $76.16.
Chief executive Hugh Grant said Monsanto will consolidate its Roundup operations into a new division of the company, dedicating less money and fewer workers to an increasingly volatile herbicide market.