Monsanto to Buy Back $1 Billion of Shares on Record Cash

Monsanto Co. (MON), the world’s largest seed company, will repurchase as much as $1 billion of shares as rising profit boosts the company’s cash horde to a record.

The buyback program is authorized for a three-year period beginning July 1, St. Louis-based Monsanto said today in a statement. The repurchases will begin with the completion of an earlier $1 billion buyback that began last July, Monsanto said. The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 30 cents a share payable July 27, unchanged from an April payment.

Profit in the three months through May is expected to rise to $1.57 to $1.62 a share, topping analyst estimates, as farmers in the U.S., Latin America and Eastern Europe bought more genetically modified crop seeds, Monsanto said May 30. Monsanto had a record $3.12 billion of cash and near cash items as of Feb. 29, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The positive business results we’ve achieved to date in 2012 are translating earnings into cash, which creates the opportunity to reinvest in our business for growth and also enables us to return value to shareowners,” Chief Financial Officer Pierre Courduroux said in the statement.

Monsanto rose 2.1 percent to $78.49 at 9:57 a.m. in New York. The shares have climbed 12 percent this year.

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