UPDATE 1-Monsanto beats expectations with bigger 1st qtr profit

Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:24am EST

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co, the world's largest seed company, raised its earnings outlook for fiscal 2013 on Tuesday and delivered surprisingly strong first-quarter results, citing growth in Latin America and early U.S. spring season seed sales.

Shares surged nearly 4 percent in premarket moves after the company said sales rose 21 percent in the quarter, driving a quarterly profit of $339 million, or 63 cents a share, versus $126 million, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier.

On an ongoing basis, the company earned 62 cents a share in the first quarter ended Nov. 30, well above the 37 cents a share expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The developer of genetically engineered corn, soybeans, and other crops pushed its fiscal-year profit outlook to a range of $4.30 to $4.40 per share, on an ongoing basis, up from its previous guidance of $4.18 to $4.32 per share.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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