In my 35 years with Monsanto and my 13 years as chairman and CEO, the challenges within the agriculture industry have never been greater— and neither have the possibilities.
From the Earth’s deepest roots to its highest satellites, we are more connected than ever to our planet and the food it produces. At Monsanto, we believe these connections hold the key to unlocking positive potential for growers and consumers.
In fiscal 2016, we helped to unlock that potential for farmers around the globe. In the face of unprecedented headwinds, your company successfully helped farmers sustainably increase their productivity, delivered on key milestones and created positive momentum moving into 2017.
We delivered on the company’s revised EPS guidance, which reflected headwinds on pricing and currency. Driving this performance were strong penetration of INTACTA RR2 PRO™ soybeans in South America, continued global corn germplasm upgrades and a disciplined approach to spending. In its third selling season, adoption of the Climate FieldView™ platform grew from 5 million paid acres in 2015 to more than 14 million in 2016. To further reinforce our innovation platform leadership, we recently expanded capabilities in genome editing to unlock a wide array of crop improvements for the global agriculture industry.
In early fiscal year 2017, we entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto in an all-cash transaction unanimously approved by Monsanto’s Board of Directors, representing a premium of approximately 42 percent to the closing price on May 11, 2016, the last trading day prior to the release of press reports regarding a potential offer by Bayer to acquire Monsanto.
The transaction brings together two complementary businesses that will benefit farmers by accelerating innovation and providing a broad range of enhanced solutions in seeds and traits, digital agriculture and crop protection. Bayer shares our foundational mission of helping farmers feed the growing population, and it shares our commitment to safety, sustainability and collaboration. We continue to move toward closing the deal by the end of calendar year 2017.
In the area of sustainability, Monsanto took an unprecedented step in 2016 to solidify our commitment to carbon-neutral agriculture, pledging to work with farmers on emissions-reducing sustainable agriculture systems and to make our own operations carbon neutral by 2021.
Our farmer customers know well the challenging limits on our natural resources. They’ve seen the effects of climate change, water scarcity and food insecurity. And they continue to look to our platforms and pipeline for tools to produce more sustainably and unlock value for generations to come. They know that while Earth’s natural resources are limited, with the right tools and collaboration, our potential for innovation is limitless.
On behalf of the board of directors and the employees of Monsanto, thank you for your continued support.
Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer