Monsanto (MON) is a multinational company that provides seeds and agriculture products to farmers and other clients worldwide. The company was founded in 1901, and now employs over 20,000 people around the world.

Its business is divided into two main divisions: seeds and genomics, and agricultural productivity. It had a market capitalization of almost $50 billion and net sales of $13.5 billion for the fiscal year 2016, a 10% decline from the year before.

Since then, the well-known German pharmaceutical company, Bayer, acquired the company in 2018. In the last year, the price of Bayer stocks dropped by more than 40%. 

Monsanto was most commonly known for producing genetically modified (GMO) seeds and the herbicide glyphosate known as “Roundup.” They produce cotton, soy, corn, alfalfa, sorghum, and canola, which are all sprayed with Roundup to manage the surrounding weeds that may otherwise reduce how much of each crop they could produce. 

Key Takeaways

  • Monsanto produces seeds and agriculture products to distribute worldwide. 
  • The company is also known for producing genetically modified seeds and the herbicide Roundup. 
  • Bayer acquired the company last year. 
  • Monsanto had a market cap of nearly $50 billion and is considered to be one of the more controversial companies in history. 

Controversies

The production and use of this controversial chemical combination has put Monsanto in the spotlight, making them subject to glaring documentaries, global protests, lawsuits, and unyielding criticism. But even before they began producing genetically modified seeds and Roundup, there were a few skeletons in Monsanto’s closet. Until the early 1980s, the company produced Agent Orange - a tactical herbicide, Aspartame sweetener, and other chemicals and plastics. 

Few companies in history have ever elicited stronger opinions than Monsanto has. The company, its owners, and its supporters all claim that it is a sustainable agriculture company with good intentions for the future, its customers, and the world. On the other side of the spectrum, many people believe that the chemicals and genetically modified seeds that they produce have the ability to cause cancers, birth defects, and other health issues. One way to avoid the potential risk is to choose organic foods, which are produced in a different manner. 

Despite the arguments on each side, Monsanto is not the only company producing these types of products. Countless other companies, many of which are listed in the section below, produce similar seeds, crops, chemicals, and other products. 

Monsanto was one of the first companies to experiment with genetically modified organisms and crops, but there have been many others since. There are positives and negatives to the incredible growth that this industry has seen over the years. 

Major Competitors Of Monsanto

Major competitors for Monsanto in the seeds and genomics space include multinational American giant Dow Chemical Company (DOW), agricultural genomics firm Evogene Ltd., and the seed and chemical supplier Syngenta (SYT), which is based in Switzerland.

Major competitors for Monsanto in the agricultural productivity division include retail fertilizer supplier Agrium (AGU), insecticide and herbicide producer American Vanguard (AVD), and fertilizer producer CF Industries Holdings (CF).

Other notable agricultural competitors include CVR Partners (UAN), Chinese Green Agriculture, Israel Chemicals, The Mosaic Company, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Rentech Nitrogen Partners, Syngenta, Terra Nitrogen Company, Eastman Chemical, Dow Chemical, FMC Corporation, and Honeywell International.