Monsanto Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
ISIN: US61166W1018 , WKN: 578919
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Description of the company
Monsanto Company, along with its subsidiaries, is a leading global provider of agricultural products for farmers. Our seeds, biotechnology trait products, herbicides and digital agriculture products provide farmers with solutions that help improve productivity, reduce the costs of farming and produce better foods for consumers and better feed for animals.
We manage our business in two reportable segments: Seeds and Genomics and Agricultural Productivity. We view our Seeds and Genomics segment as the driver for future growth for our company. In our Agricultural Productivity segment, global glyphosate producers have substantial capacity to supply the market, and we expect this global capacity to maintain pressure on margins.
On Sept. 14, 2016, we entered into an agreement and plan of merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, a German stock corporation (“Bayer”), and KWA Investment Co., a Delaware corporation and an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer (“Merger Sub”). The Merger Agreement provides, among other things and subject to the terms and conditions set forth therein, that Merger Sub will be merged with and into the company (the “Merger”), with the company continuing as the surviving corporation and as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer. The Merger Agreement provides that each share of common stock of the company, par value $0.01 per share (other than certain shares specified in the Merger Agreement), outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the Merger will be automatically converted into the right to receive $128.00 in cash, without interest. The obligation of the parties to complete the Merger is subject to customary closing conditions, including, among others, (i) the approval of the adoption of the Merger Agreement by the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of common stock of the company entitled to vote, which was obtained at a special meeting of the company’s shareowners held on Dec. 13, 2016, (ii) the expiration or earlier termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, (iii) the adoption of all approvals necessary for the completion of the Merger by the European Commission under Council Regulation (EC) No. 139/2004, (iv) the receipt of certain other required foreign antitrust approvals, (v) completion of the review process by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), (vi) no approvals related to CFIUS or antitrust laws having been made or obtained with the imposition of conditions that, together with Divestiture Actions (as defined in the Merger Agreement) undertaken, would reasonably be expected to have a Substantial Detriment (as defined in the Merger Agreement), (vii) no law, order or injunction having been enacted, issued, promulgated, enforced or entered after Sept. 14, 2016, by a court or other governmental entity of competent jurisdiction that is in effect that enjoins or otherwise prohibits the completion of the Merger, (viii) the accuracy of the representations and warranties contained in the Merger Agreement (subject to certain qualifications) and (ix) the performance by the parties of their respective obligations under the Merger Agreement in all material respects. Additional information about the Merger Agreement is set forth in our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on Sept. 20, 2016.
We provide information about our business, including analyses, significant news releases and other supplemental information, on our website: www.monsanto.com. In addition, we make available through our website, free of charge, our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been filed with or furnished to the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forms 3, 4 and 5 filed with respect to our equity securities under Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act are also available on our website by the end of the business day after filing. All of these materials can be found under the “Investors” caption. Our website also includes the following corporate governance materials, under the caption “Company — Governance”: our Code of Business Conduct, our Code of Ethics for Chief Executive and Senior Financial Officers, our Board of Directors’ Charter and Corporate Governance Guidelines and charters of our Board committees. These materials are also available on paper. Any shareowner may request them by contacting the Office of the General Counsel, Monsanto Company, 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri, 63167. Information on our website does not constitute part of this report.
SEEDS AND GENOMICS SEGMENT
Through our Seeds and Genomics segment, we produce leading seed brands, including DEKALB, Asgrow, Deltapine, Seminis and De Ruiter, and we develop biotechnology traits that assist farmers in controlling insects and weeds and digital agriculture products to assist farmers in decision making. We also provide other seed companies with technology and genetic material for their seed brands.
Distribution of Products
We have a worldwide distribution and sales and marketing organization for our seeds and traits. We sell our products under Monsanto brands and license technology and genetic material to others for sale under their own brands. Through distributors, independent retailers and dealers, agricultural cooperatives and agents, we market our DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine branded germplasm to farmers in every agricultural region of the world. In the United States, we market regional seed brands under our American Seeds, LLC and Channel Bio, LLC businesses to farmers directly, as well as through dealers, agricultural cooperatives and agents. In countries where they are approved for sale, we market and sell our trait technologies with our branded germplasm, pursuant to license agreements with our farmer customers. In Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, we have implemented a point-of-delivery, grain-based payment system. We contract with grain handlers to collect applicable trait fees when farmers deliver grain for which trait fees have not already been paid. In addition to selling our products under our own brands, we license a broad package of germplasm and trait technologies to large and small seed companies in the United States and certain international markets. Those seed companies in turn market our trait technologies in their branded germplasm; they may also market our germplasm under their own brand name. Our vegetable seeds are predominantly marketed under either the Seminis or De Ruiter brand in more than 150 countries either directly to farmers or through distributors, independent retailers and dealers, agricultural cooperatives, plant raisers and agents.
The global market for the products of our Seeds and Genomics segment is competitive, and the competition has intensified. Both our row crops and our vegetable seed businesses compete with numerous multinational agrichemical and seed marketers globally and with hundreds of smaller companies regionally. Most of our seed competitors in row crops are also licensees of our germplasm or biotechnology traits, and a few of our vegetable seed business competitors have licensed biotech traits for sweet corn or genetic improvements through advanced breeding. In certain countries, we also compete with government-owned seed companies. Our biotechnology traits compete as a system with other practices, including the application of agricultural chemicals, and traits developed by other companies. Genome editing technology, application of emerging data sciences capabilities, and other advancements in breeding technology may enable potentially disruptive improvements in genetic performance by competitors or new market entrants. Our weed- and insect-control systems compete with chemical and seed products produced by other agrichemical and seed marketers. Competition for the discovery of new traits based on biotechnology or genomics is likely to come from major global agrichemical companies, smaller biotechnology research companies and institutions, state-funded programs and academic institutions. Enabling technologies to enhance biotechnology trait development may also come from academic researchers and biotechnology research companies. Competitors using our technology outside of license terms and farmers who save seed from one year to the next also affect competitive conditions.
Product performance (in particular, crop vigor and yield for our row crops and quality for our vegetable seeds), customer support and service, intellectual property rights and protection, product availability and planning and price are important elements of our market success in seeds. In addition, distributor, retailer and farmer relationships are important in the United States and many other countries. The primary factors underlying the competitive success of traits are performance and commercial viability; timeliness of introduction; value compared with other practices and products; market coverage; service provided to distributors, retailers and farmers; governmental approvals; value capture; public acceptance; and environmental characteristics.
Patents, Trademarks and Licenses
In the United States and many foreign countries, we hold a broad business portfolio of patents, trademarks and licenses that provide intellectual property protection for our seeds and genomics-related products and processes. Monsanto routinely obtains patents and/or plant variety protection for its breeding technology, commercial varietal seed products and for the parents of its commercial hybrid seed products. We also routinely obtain registrations for commercial seed products in registration countries, as well as Plant Variety Protection Act Certificates in the United States and equivalent plant breeders’ rights in other countries. In soybeans, while our patent coverage on the first generation Roundup Ready trait for soybeans has expired, most Roundup Ready soybeans in the U.S. are protected by utility patents covering specific varieties. In addition, most of our customers and licensees are choosing our second generation Roundup Ready 2 Yield trait for soybeans with patent coverage that extends into the next decade. In Brazil and Argentina, farmers are adopting our next generation Intacta RR2 PRO soybean that also has patent coverage extending into the next decade. Patents on our next-generation herbicide trait which confers dicamba tolerance extend into the next decade. In corn, patent coverage on our first generation YieldGard trait has expired; however, most farmers have already upgraded to next generation branded corn traits with patent coverage extending into the next decade. In cotton, most growers globally are already using our second generation traits with patent coverage extending into the next decade.
We broadly license technology and patents to other parties. For example, we have licensed the Roundup Ready trait in soybean, corn, canola and cotton seeds, the YieldGard traits in corn and the Intacta RR2 PRO and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend traits in soybeans to a wide range of commercial entities and in some cases academic institutions. We also hold licenses from other parties relating to certain products and processes. For example, we have obtained licenses to certain technologies that we use to produce Roundup Ready seeds and SmartStax corn. These licenses generally last for the lifetime of the applicable patents.
We own trademark registrations and file trademark applications for the names and for many of the designs used on branded products around the world. Important company trademarks include Roundup Ready, Bollgard, YieldGard, Roundup Ready 2 Yield, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, Intacta RR2 PRO, VT Double PRO and SmartStax for traits; Acceleron for seed treatment products; DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine for row crop seeds; and Seminis and De Ruiter for vegetable seeds.