Deere & Co., the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment, posted a profit last Wednesday for its fiscal fourth quarter in contrast to a loss a year ago. The company cited improved conditions on U.S. farms but weakness in construction equipment sales. The company believes farmers in most of the company's key markets are experiencing solid levels of income due to strong global demand for agricultural commodities, low grain stocks in relation to use, and high prices for crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans, sugar and cotton.
For next year Deere is forecasting only flat farm machinery sales in the United States and Canada because of production limits and the pollution control regulations. Deere CEO Samuel Allen said in a statement that conditions continued to be positive in the U.S. farm sector, including increased sales of larger equipment, but European agricultural markets remained soft.
The Moline, Ill., company reported net income of $457.2 million, or $1.07 per share, for the quarter ended Oct. 31 compared with a net loss of $222.8 million, or 53 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 35% to $7.2 billion. For the full year, Deere earned $1.865 billion, or $4.35 per share. Revenue rose to $26 billion from $23.1 billion a year ago.