Prospects for US biotechnology group, Monsanto look set to improve as it continues to gain approval of its genetically modified seeds in key potential markets.

Analyst predict that Monsanto, 85% owned by US drug-maker Pharmacia, will deliver fourth quarter results above expectations, underlying profit in the fourth quarter is close to $US31m. The company has been boosted by sales of its GM Soya bean seeds in the wake of the BSE crisis currently engulfing the world. The lack of soya bean crop has seen many large-scale producers turn to the GM variety to meet demand.

Regulatory moves in a number of countries are also expected to go Monsanto’s way in the next few weeks.

The company expects to gain approval for its genetically modified soya bean seeds in Brazil, while in Japan, Monsanto is awaiting approval of its corn seed. The European Commission is also close to finishing rule changes that would allow Monsanto to start seeking approvals again.