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Deere Company Earnings Strong, Outlook Not So Much

Paul Ausick

Deere & Co. (DE) reported fourth-quarter and full fiscal year 2013 results before markets opened Wednesday morning. For the quarter, the farm and heavy equipment maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.11 on revenues of $9.45 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted EPS of $1.75 on revenues of $9.79 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.89 and $8.68 billion in revenues.

For the full year, Deere reported EPS of $9.09 on revenues of $37.8 billion, compared with EPS of $7.63 on revenues of $36.16 billion in the prior year. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $8.84 on revenues of $35.26 billion.

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In its outlook statement, Deere projected a decrease in equipment sales for the 2014 fiscal year of 53% and a first-quarter decrease of 2%. Net income for the year is expected to come in at $3.3 billion, down from a total of $3.54 billion for the 2013 fiscal year. The outlook includes the effect of the company's sale of 60% of its landscape operations.

The company's CEO said:

During the year, Deere continued with a record number of product introductions and completed seven new factories, in Brazil, Russia, India and China. These products and additional capacity are essential to helping the company expand its global customer base and realize its long-term business objectives. … We remain confident in the company's direction and its ability to serve a population growing in both size and prosperity in the years ahead. In spite of lingering global economic concerns, we believe these developments continue to hold great promise and should provide significant benefits to our investors and other stakeholders well into the future.

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Sales in the company's agriculture and turf division fell 4% year-over-year in the quarter, while construction and forestry equipment sales declined 8%. Sales figures followed volume: Deere shipped fewer tractors, lawnmowers and loaders.

Deere's results in its agriculture and turf division include a write-down related to its landscape operations and an impairment charge for long-lived assets in its water group.

Shares of Deere were trading up about 3.2% in the premarket Wednesday at $85.44. The 52-week range is $79.50 to $95.60. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $85.30 before the report.

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