Monsanto's GM Soy Beans Big
Winner In Mad Cow Crisis
By Geoffrey Lean - Environment Editor


It is an ill wind, as they say. For the BSE crisis sweeping through Europe is transforming the hitherto gloomy prospects for Monsanto, the controversial GM giant.
The Europe-wide ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal to animals is leading to a huge increase in imported GM soya to take its place. The beleaguered company's share price is soaring, and analysts who once shunned its stock are advising investors to buy.
The ban on feeding animals to each other, imposed at the beginning of this year, has left farmers across Europe scrambling to find alternatives. Fish meal is also banned for cattle and other ruminants, because of fears that it may be contaminated by meat-and-bone meal. This leaves soya, and imports of the beans are expected to jump by about 3.5 million tons this year.
Virtually all of this will be genetically modified, says the UK Agricultural Trade Supply Association, because almost all unmodified soya has been bought up to meet demand following campaigns by environmental groups.
Prices of GM soya have jumped, and the future of Monsanto has been transformed. Its share price, which fell during the past two years when the stock market was booming, has leapt by 50 per cent over the past three-and-a-half months.
Eight of the ten leading analysts of its stock are advising investors to buy. The most bullish include Deutsche Bank, which 18 months ago advised selling, saying that GMO stock would be "perceived as a pariah" and that GM soya could become an "earnings nightmare" for Monsanto.
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