Monsanto eyes Brazil, China for strong growth

Fri Aug 5, 2011 10:45pm GMT

* First-ever launch of Brazil-specific biotech trait

* Accelerating R&D spending in Brazil

* China corn venture seen important for long-term

By Carey Gillam

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Aug 5 (Reuters) - As head of the world's largest seed company, Monsanto (MON.N: Quote) Chairman Hugh Grant is on a global quest for growth. And with the U.S.-based company's footprint firmly planted in the United States, that pursuit has turned south.

South America, particularly Brazil, is a top growth target now, Grant said in an interview with Reuters this week.

Friendly regulators, an influx of public and private investment into Brazilian agriculture and a population of farmers eager to help feed a hungry world are among the factor spurring the agricultural conglomerate to intensify its efforts there, Grant said.

"Brazil is critical to global agriculture, and therefore critical to Monsanto," Grant said.

The company's fresh five-year strategic plan - laid out for board members this week - includes an outlook for strong international revenue growth, with Brazil a key contributor. Sales in Brazil totaled $1.066 billion in 2010, about 10 percent of total company revenues. The company is aiming for strong growth going forward, Grant said.   Continued...

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