Deere has downbeat 2013 outlook, and shares fall

Associated Press Modified: November 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm •  Published: November 21, 2012
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Still, it predicted a fiscal 2013 profit of $3.2 billion, slightly above the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet. It said prices for its equipment will rise 3 percent for the year, on top of a 4 percent gain in the fourth quarter.

In the quarter that ended Oct. 31, Deere's net income rose 2.7 percent to $687.6 million, or $1.75 per share. Revenue rose 14 percent to $9.79 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $1.88 per share. A year ago Deere's net income was $669.6 million, or $1.62 per share.

Equipment sales rose to $9.05 billion, topping analysts' forecasts of $8.93 billion. Sales were strong in the U.S. and Canada, rising 26 percent for the quarter. Elsewhere, sales fell 2 percent. Sales of agriculture and turf equipment rose 16 percent, while construction and forestry equipment sales rose 7 percent.

In addition to farm equipment, Deere makes construction and forestry equipment such as backhoes, excavators, riding mowers and leaf blowers, making the company sensitive to movements in the global economy.

Deere is holding off on big spending projects as much as possible until January because of economic uncertainty, said Chief Financial Officer Rajesh Kalathur on a conference call.

"As the economics now become clearer, we may modify our plans. We will pull levers and cut down on investments if the scenario worsens, and we may accelerate our plans" if economies turn more positive, he said.

For the full fiscal year, Deere earned $3.07 billion, or $7.63 per share, up from $2.8 billion, or $6.63 per share, during the prior year. Revenue rose 13 percent to $36.16 billion for the year.