Monsanto job cuts include Kauai farm

Monsanto says it is cutting about 650 to 700 more jobs as it continues to restructure its business.

In Hawaii, the agricultural and seed products company has operations on Oahu, Maui and Molokai, where it employs approximately 850 people.

Spokesman Paul Koehler told PBN that the company will “exit” its small operation in Hanapepe on Kauai — a farm that focused primarily on seed corn — during the next month, leaving four full-time employees and several other temporary employees out of work.

“We always routinely evaluate our infrastructure to ensure our needs are efficient, but Hawaii is not immune to that assessment [so] on the island of Kauai we’ve elected to go ahead and exit the operation there, and we will begin phase out over the next month,” Koehler said. “After consideration, the business operations of that size didn’t fit with our overall business plan in the state.”

The cuts will cost the company $180 million — $90 million in severance and benefits, $60 million in facility closure expenses and $30 million in asset writedowns. The latest job cuts are in addition to a restructuring announced last year to reduce the company’s work force by 1,800, or 8 percent.

Of the up to 700 additional jobs Monsanto is cutting, about 300 are in the United States.

U.S. employees being cut will receive a cash lump-sum severance ranging from six to 15 months of eligible pay, based on basic pay and average incentives. Medical coverage either will be continued through subsidized retirement coverage or COBRA.

Monsanto is providing outplacement and education and financial planning assistance to the displaced workers.

“Our operating plan for the quarter and the conclusion of the fiscal year focused on delivering on our revised commitments and setting up our business for mid-teens earnings growth going forward,” said Chief Financial Officer Carl Casale, in a statement. “With a solid wrap to the quarter, we’ll turn the page and start a new chapter as our growth focus shifts squarely to our seeds-and-traits business.”

Company officials expect earnings for the fiscal year in the range of $2.40 to $2.45 a share, at the low end of their previous $2.40 to $2.60 guidance range. The company’s fiscal year ends Tuesday, and it plans to issue its fourth-quarter and fiscal-year earnings on Oct. 6.

Creve Coeur, Mo.-based agricultural giant Monsanto (NYSE: MON), led by Chairman, President and CEO Hugh Grant, develops insect- and herbicide-resistant crops and other agricultural products. It has more than 20,000 total employees and reported sales of $11.7 billion in 2009.

Monsanto job cuts include Kauai farm – Pacific Business News (Honolulu)

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