GENET archive


7-Business: Monsanto investors face catastrophic risk

genet-news mailing list


Berlin/New York, April 16th, 2003 ¯ The agrochemical giant Monsanto has
received  the lowest possible environmental and strategic management rating
of a triple-C from Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, a global
environmental and social investment research firm. Innovest’s report,
'Monsanto and Genetic Engineering: Risks to Investors',  commissioned by
Greenpeace, was released at a briefing at the Harvard Club in New York City
this morning.

The report, which comes just days before Monsanto’s annual general meeting,
warns shareholders and potential investors of Monsanto's "above average
risk exposure and less sophisticated management than peers." Innovest
analysts predict that "it [Monsanto] will likely under-perform in the
market over the mid to long-term."

Monsanto suffered $ 1.7 billion in losses in 2002 and has failed to open
new markets for its controversial genetic engineered (GE) products. Yet
Monsanto continues to pursue its unsound business strategy of betting on a
speedy and widespread global acceptance of GE foods. Next in the Monsanto
pipeline is GE wheat, which is being boycotted in key markets by farmers
and food industry even before its approval.

"While last year's profit losses led to a change in leadership at the
company, they did not lead to a change in strategy. If Monsanto does not
take steps to mitigate its substantial market risks, further investor
losses are likely," said Frank Dixon, Managing Director at Innovest
Strategic Value Advisors. 'The risk of heavy financial losses due to
genetic pollution or technology failure coupled with sustained market
rejection of GE foods makes Monsanto a poor investment.'

In its assessment of Monsanto’s key markets, Innovest underscores the lack
of regulatory approval and stiff consumer opposition that continue to block
the company's GE crops. GE products constitute one of the most widely
rejected product groups ever, and major food importers such as China, Japan
and Korea have recently followed the restrictive European approach. In the
US, upwards of 90% of consumers now demand GE food to be labeled and many
would reject GE food if given the choice.

The Innovest analysis of the risks and liabilities associated with
Monsanto's genetic engineering (GE) business pays special attention to the
inevitability of GE contamination. Referring to the example of the StarLink
corn contamination scandal in 2000, in which the company Aventis lost $1
billion, Innovest estimated Monsanto's potential financial fallout from a
"StarLink scenario" to be $3.83 liability per share.

"Monsanto's cash cow remains its agrochemical business, but last year's 24%
drop in sales of Round-up and other non-selective herbicides has left the
company vulnerable and increasingly desperate. Monsanto appears to be
digging its own grave with its GE strategy," said global markets specialist
with Greenpeace, Lindsay Keenan.

The Innovest report can be downloaded from

A comprehensive video on GE wheat market rejection, called 'Slice of Life',
is available from Greenpeace International, Martin Atkin +31 627 000 057

For more information, please contact: Frank Dixon, Managing Director,
Innovest Strategic Value Advisors,Tel +1 646 237 0220 or +1 212 421 2000,
ext. 200; Lindsay Keenan, Greenpeace global markets specialist, Mob: +1 202
550 3845; Teresa Merilainen, Greenpeace International Press Office, Tel:
+31 205 236 637