Sales losses prompt agrochemical giant to slash workforce by 12% over the next two years

US agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto plans to eliminate 2600 jobs over the next two years. The cuts, which will slash the company’s workforce by about 12%, are part of a cost-saving plan to address declining sales of its biotech seeds and herbicides.

The company anticipates that redundancies will be spread across all of its functions and units globally, including R&D, and that it expects the initial restructuring plan to bring annual savings of $275–300 million (£180–195 million) by the end of fiscal year 2017.

Brett Wong, an agricultural sector analyst for Piper Jaffray in Boston, US, expresses surprise that Monsanto has had to take such drastic actions. However, he suggests that the same factors may affect other companies. ‘It is the downturn in agriculture, and materials overall, that we have seen on the global scale,’ he says.

Wong adds that there are difficulties across the entire agricultural and industrial sectors. ‘We are seeing weakness across the whole industrial space,’ he says. For example, difficulties in the energy and mining industries have prompted US machinery and engines producer Caterpillar plans to cut around 10,000 staff and close some manufacturing facilities by 2018.