Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 07, 2015 • 09:30 am ET

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Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Greetings and welcome to the First Quarter Fiscal Year 2015 Monsanto Company Earnings and Research and Development Update Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Laura Meyer, Investor Relations lead for Monsanto. Thank you, Ms. Meyer, you may begin.

Executive
Laura Meyer

Thank you, Christine and good morning to everyone. Happy New Year to all of you joining us for this first quarter earnings update.

I am joined this morning by Hugh Grant, our Chairman and CEO; Brett Begemann, our President and Chief Operating Officer as well as Pierre Courduroux, our CFO and Rob Fraley, our Chief Technology Officer. Also joining me from the IR team are Ashley Wissmann, Priyal Patel and Tim Boeker.

Our first quarter call continues to be the first data point on our business for the year and includes the annual update of our R&D pipeline. This call is being webcast and you can access the webcast, supporting slides and the replay at monsanto.com.

We have provided you today with EPS measures on both a GAAP and ongoing business basis, where we refer to non-GAAP financial measures, we reconcile to GAAP in the slides and in the press release, both of which are on the website.

This call will include statements concerning future events and financial results. Because these statements are based on assumptions and factors that involve risk and uncertainty, the Company's actual performance and results may vary in a material way from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement. A description of the factors that may cause such a variance is included in the Safe Harbor language in our most recent 10-K and in today's press release.

First and foremost, let me anchor today's review on a brief overview of our first quarter results as shown on Slide 4. Our first quarter ongoing EPS was $0.47, which is ahead of the expectation we outlined with our full year outlook and earnings flow at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Our free cash flow for the quarter was $969 million, which is within the range of expected operating and investing cash flows built into our full year guidance. Both measures are consistent with the growth plans we have for fiscal year '15 as well as our ongoing commitment to continue to invest in our new platforms.

So with that, let me hand it to Hugh for the strategic view at the close of our first quarter.

Executive
Hugh Grant

Thank you, Laura and Happy New Year to everybody on the line.

While many in the industry are more near-term focused, we continue to keep our view on the horizon unwavering on our vision for growth. We acknowledge that there are near-term headwinds in the current agricultural environment, yet with our balanced portfolio, we believe we're well positioned to withstand those challenges.

Taking a longer view, we continue to view