Daily Archives: April 16, 2010

Investors Dump Monsanto Shares – Friday April 16

Monsanto was one of today’s worst performing stocks, down 0.6% to $65.21 on DJ.

Syngenta SYT Earnings fell short as well, a reported first quarter 2010 revenues of $3.5 billion, just slightly lower than estimates of $3.574 billion. That’s -3% at today’s exchange rate, but -8% at a constant exchange rate to the first quarter of 2009. sales of glyphospate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup were lower than a year ago.

Like Monsanto Corp. (MON), sales of glyphospate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup were lower than a year ago. In Sygenta’s case by almost $100 million dollars, a drop of 34% at constant exchange rates.

With the decreasing availability of arable land, water shortages, downstream rivers drying up, and even climate change, the longer-term outlook for Ag-chemical companies is bleak.

The only question is how long does an investor want to or have to wait to realize returns. Monsanto is trying to cut its dependence on Roundup and put more attention on selling seeds. That’s a gamble, and could keep the stock price down. Syngenta seems to be taking the ‘wait-and-see’ approach, banking on higher revenues as the planting season in the northern hemisphere gets into high gear.

Which Veggie Burgers Were Made With a Neurotoxin?

By Kiera Butler Mon Apr. 12, 2010 2:30 AM PDT

UPDATE: Veggie burger rumors are flying! Some readers and other news organizations have alleged that the study I wrote about on Monday was funded by the pro-meat, anti-soy group the Weston A. Price Foundation. But this morning, I spoke with Cornucopia Institute director Mark Kastel, who said that the Weston A. Price Foundation did not contribute any funding to the “Behind the Bean” (pdf) study. More here.

UPDATE: Readers’ questions about veggie burgers and hexane answered here.

This is about the time of year when I start keeping packages of veggie burgers in the freezer, just in case of an impromptu barbecue. In the past, I haven’t had much fake meat brand loyalty: I’ve found that once I smother my hunk of textured vegetable protein in barbeque sauce, all soy patties are pretty much created equal. But after reading a recent investigation by the Cornucopia Institute, I’m going to be a lot more picky: The food and agriculture nonprofit found that most non-organic veggie burgers currently on the market are made with the chemical hexane, an EPA-registered air pollutant and neurotoxin.

In order to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers, manufacturers of soy-based fake meat like to make their products have as little fat as possible. The cheapest way to do this is by submerging soybeans in a bath of hexane to separate the oil from the protein. Says Cornucopia Institute senior researcher Charlotte Vallaeys, “If a non-organic product contains a soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, or texturized vegetable protein, you can be pretty sure it was made using soy beans that were made with hexane.”

If you’ve heard about hexane before, it was likely in the context of gasoline—the air pollutant is also a byproduct of gas refining. But in 2007, grain processors were responsible for two-thirds of our national hexane emissions. Hexane is hazardous in the factory, too: Workers who have been exposed to it have developed both skin and nervous system disorders. Troubling, then, that the FDA does not monitor or regulate hexane residue in foods. More worrisome still: According to the report,

“Nearly every major ingredient in conventional soy-based infant formula is hexane extracted.”

The Cornucopia Institute found that a number of popular veggie burgers were made with hexane. The list (pdf, page 37, and below) is longer than you might think:

Continue reading

Monsanto: A Kinder, Gentler Monolith?

The Street, USA  Scott Eden   07.04.2010

ST. LOUIS (TheStreet) — Monsanto’s moment of self-reckoning has
arrived — at least when it comes to its financial growth forecasts.

In a conference call with analysts and investors Wednesday morning
following another disappointing quarterly earnings report, Monsanto
management effectively said that they’d got it all wrong. They were
turning over a new leaf — or a new cornstalk, as the case may be.

“This management has eaten a lot of crow,” said Charlie Rentschler,
an equities analyst at Morgan Joseph who participated in the call and
described it as “very sober.”

“They’re admitting their mistakes and they’re trying to modify their
ways. Assuming they can do this, it’s a step-change in how this
company has been operated. As far as I’m concerned they’ve been a
pretty arrogant bunch,” Rentschler said of the company, especially in
its relationships with distributors and end-users on the farm.

“They’ve had a lot of swagger — a do-it-my-way-or-hit-the-highway-
type attitude. They say now that’s going to stop.”

April: we’ll see if this is just another propaganda shot at working their shares back up. Farmers are bowing out of their technologies this year, too many people are now anti-GMO, and a host of other reasons are likely why this article has appeared. Can’t imagine Hugh Grant bowing to anything, but I do think we will see all versions of softer press releases from them. Not sure it will reflect the inner workings of the corporation though: you can say anything on paper: it’s harder to actually DO it. Remember: don’t let those shareholders down: must profit at all costs!
Continue reading