As progress continues for the merger with Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer, Monsanto Co., St. Louis, announced strong results for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2018, growing as-reported earnings per share to $0.38. The company says early indicators from the first three months, such as volume and pricing growth for Intacta RR2 Pro soybeans in South America; improved pricing in glyphosate; and more than $85 million in gains from asset sales, signal that the company is well positioned to deliver on its business goals.

In its annual Research & Development Pipeline Showcase in early January, Monsanto highlighted how new technologies will help growers combat threats in the field and optimize opportunities with less land, energy and water. This marks the fifth consecutive year of more than 20 research projects advancing.

The company expects growth in its pretax income for fiscal year 2018, but did not provide specific financial guidance in light of the pending combination with Bayer.

The expected growth drivers for Monsanto’s business are continued improvements in pricing for glyphosate, plus the adoption of new technologies in seeds and genomics such as Intacta RR2 Pro soybeans, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, Bollgard II Xtend-Flex cotton, and new corn hybrids around the world. Gains from recent asset sales are also contributing to growth. The company says it will remain disciplined as it monitors the evolution of U.S. corn and soybean plantings through the spring.

Volumes of XtendiMax Herbicide with VaporGrip Technology are expected to expand. The company continues to invest in the construction of its Dicamba manufacturing plant in Luling, Louisiana, slated for completion in 2020.