FMC Cuts Profit Forecast as Real Slump Hurts Pesticide Sales

  • As many as 850 jobs, or 12% of workforce, will be eliminated
  • Company joins Monstanto, DuPont in agriculture-market skid

FMC Corp. lowered its full-year earnings forecast and plans to cut as much as 12 percent of its workforce as the pesticide company joined Monsanto Co. and DuPont Co. in facing an erosion of sales related to the slumping Brazilian real.

Profit excluding one-time items is now expected to be $2.35 to $2.45 a share in 2015, Philadelphia-based FMC said Monday in a statement. Its projection in August was for $3 to $3.30 and the average of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg was $3.02. On Tuesday, the stock fell 3.1 percent to $36.35 in New York.

Monsanto and DuPont last week also cited a declining real and weak agricultural markets in providing profit forecasts that missed expectations by analysts. FMC Chief Executive Officer Pierre Brondeau this year made his company increasingly reliant on agriculture with the $1.8 billion purchase of Danish pesticide maker Cheminova and the divestiture of the soda-ash business.

Accelerated Integration

“We are taking aggressive actions to address the extraordinary operating environment in Brazil,” Brondeau said in the statement. “FMC will be well positioned to deliver solid earnings growth and higher returns beginning in 2016, even in the face of soft market conditions.”

FMC plans to eliminate 800 to 850 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan designed to save as much as $160 million a year. The company has about 7,000 employees globally, said Jim Fitzwater, a spokesman. Operations in Brazil will be reduced to align with near-term market conditions and Cheminova’s integration will be accelerated, FMC said.

Agriculture operations outside of Latin America and other units are meeting the company’s expectations, Brondeau said. FMC is scheduled to report third-quarter results on Nov. 2.

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