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Great year for Deere

Deere & company capped off a very good year for sales with a two-for-one stock split in the form of a 100% stock dividend. This action, taken in November, increased the number of common shares to 1,200 million.

About a week later, Deere announced that its earnings for the full year were up from the same period a year ago. Worldwide net income was $1.822 billion, or $8.01 per share, compared with $1.694 billion, or $7.18 per share, last year.

The company states that net sales of its worldwide equipment operations increased 21% for the fourth quarter and 8% for the year. Although these sales in the U.S. and Canada were flat, outside the U.S. and Canada they were up 27% for the year.

Deere agricultural equipment played a role in the company's healthy year by posting an 18% increase in sales. Deere expects worldwide sales of its agricultural equipment to be up 17% for 2008. It forecasts that industry-wide sales of farm equipment in the U.S. and Canada will be up 10 to 15% for the year.

Deere also anticipates strong ag equipment sales growth in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Russia. It expects South American markets to improve 10 to 15%.

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