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Monsanto boosts fiscal 2012 profit prediction

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Monsanto Co. boosted its full-year profit expectations Wednesday citing strong sales during the third quarter, sending shares up more than 2 percent before the market opened.

Hugh Grant, Monsanto's chairman, president and chief executive, told investors at a conference in New York that he expects year-over-year ongoing earnings to grow up to 25 percent this year, with earnings growth in the "mid-teens" following in fiscal 2013.

The St. Louis company, which produces genetically engineered seeds and the herbicide Roundup, said it now expects to post an adjusted profit of $3.65 to $3.70 per share, up from its previous prediction of $3.49 to $3.54 per share.

Analysts, who usually exclude one-time items, expect a profit of $3.57 per share for the year, according to a FactSet poll.

For the current quarter, Monsanto projected a profit of $1.57 to $1.62 per share, while analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of $1.29 per share.

Monsanto said it saw strong seasons in both the northern and southern hemispheres that began early in the year and continued through the third quarter.

The company also saw strong demand at its seed and traits business and better-than-expected sales of chemical products including its Roundup herbicides, along with strong demand at its lawn-and-garden businesses.

Monsanto will report its third-quarter results on June 27. The company's shares rose $1.84 to $76.59 in premarket trading.