(UR) Share prices — plummeting. Royalties — cut. Consumer opinion — in the toilet. Governments — fed up. Monsanto’s earnings represent the writing on the wall, but the company’s glory days are nearing an end for many reasons ranging from farmer and consumer resistance to government crackdowns on GMO products and even Monsanto’s best-selling chemical product, glyphosate. Monsanto’s days are about as numbered as a fruit fly’s.
If we were to ascertain Monsanto’s financial health by their stock price alone, you could safely say that they are suffering. The company recently slashed its 2016 earnings forecast from the $5.10-$5.60 per share it had forecast in December, to $4.40-$5.10, claiming that the reduction was due to a lagging strength in the U.S. dollar — but there’s much more to the picture.
In numerous key markets, the company consistently rating among most hated in the world is taking major hits.
- In India, Monsanto’s illegal introduction of GM Bt cotton is reaping some serious karma. The Ministry of Agriculture has accused Monsanto of price gouging and is reducing their ‘royalties’ by 70 percent. Monsanto has threatened to withdraw its GM crops from India, but the country hasn’t balked. Their reply? “Monsanto is welcome to leave.”
- In Mexico, a seven-year battle to save almost 60 varieties of heirloom corn — developed over 7,000 years by indigenous farmers — has just been won. This means Monsanto’s aim to wipe out the genetic diversity of a major food crop in the country has been thwarted by a Mexican federal appeals court.
- As far as RoundUp, Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide, that’s in big trouble, too. The State of California’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labeled the product as a probable carcinogen, and Monsanto has filed a lawsuit (thus far to no avail) to try to get rid of the classification. The World Health Organization’s recent finding that glyphosate is also ‘probably carcinogenic’ doesn’t help, and the E.U. just voted not to re-license RoundUp for sale in Europe.
- Already more than half of E.U. countries have moved to bar GMO cultivation.
- Russia has banned GMOs, and plans to become the largest exporter of organic products. That’s a huge market that Monsanto will not have access to.
- The DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) was just denied on the Senate floor, meaning states will retain their right to establish mandatory GMO labeling laws.
- McDonald’s and Wendy’s, as well as other major restaurant chains, are refusing to use Simplot’s GM potatoes and apples, even after the USDA approved them for sale — due to consumer concerns. Even baby food manufacturer, Gerber, is turning down GM ingredients.
- China still allows some GM products, but they aren’t looking to approve any new GM seeds anytime soon, since they are seeking to develop their own biotechnology market. While this is unsettling, it still means that Monsanto is squeezed out of the international seed monopoly market.
- Even though the agrichemical business lobby is the biggest lobbyist on the E.U.-U.S. trade deal, TTIP, Monsanto is losing its grip. Many fear TTIP would significantly water down E.U. chemical safety standards, including the precautionary principle.
According to Mike Mack, the former CEO of Swiss-based (and now Chinese-owned) Syngenta, biotech seeds have nearly saturated major markets where approved.
Furthermore, BASF, another German biotech and chemical giant, seems to realize that biotech seed markets are drying up. The company has pulled out of Europe completely and has closed several plants due to consumer and political resistance. Stefan Marcinowski, a member of BASF’s executive board said:
“We are convinced that plant biotechnology is a key technology for the 21st century. However, there is still a lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe — from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians. Therefore, it does not make business sense to continue investing in products exclusively for cultivation in this market.”
It could be just a matter of months before Monsanto realizes their well-earned fate.
This article (Numbers Don’t Lie: Why Monsanto May Be Facing Its Final Days) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to firstname.lastname@example.org. Image credit: Wikimedia/Rosalee Yagihara