Deere Company Earnings Strong, but Get No Help from Outlook

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) reported third-quarter fiscal 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The farm and heavy equipment maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.56 on revenues of $10.01 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted EPS of $1.98 on revenues of $9.59 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $2.17 and $9.29 billion in revenues.

In its outlook statement, Deere projected an increase in equipment sales for the full year of 5% and a fourth-quarter decrease of 5%. Net income for the year is expected to come in at $3.45 billion, up from a $3.3 billion forecast at the end of the second quarter. Currency exchange effects are included in these estimates and are forecast to clip about 1% off annual growth.

This forecast for full-year sales is flat with Deere’s forecast at the end of its second quarter, but the higher forecast for net income should give the shares a bit of a lift.

The consensus estimates call for EPS of $8.53 on revenues of $35.4154 billion for the year and EPS of $1.95 on revenues of $9.05 billion for the fiscal fourth quarter.

The company’s CEO said:

Deere’s success is a reflection of considerable strength in the farm sector, especially in North and South America . We also are making further progress executing our wide-ranging operating and marketing plans, which call for expanding our global market presence while keeping a close watch on costs and assets. … Last year’s fourth-quarter sales were particularly strong, in part because our factories were running at a high rate to catch up with customer orders. Even with this difficult comparison, our financial guidance implies a healthy level of income for the coming quarter and a third consecutive year of record results.

Sales in the company’s agriculture and turf division rose 8% year-over-year, while construction and forestry equipment sales declined 11%. Sales figures followed volume: Deere shipped more tractors and lawnmowers and fewer loaders.

Deere expects equipment sales to rise 7% for the full year (equal to the forecast at the end of the second quarter), compared with 2012. Sales in the United States and Canada are forecast to rise 5% (down from a projection for a rise of 11% at the end of last quarter), and Latin American sales are forecast to rise 20%. Sales in the former Soviet Union and in Europe are expected to be lower, and Asian sales are forecast to be flat.

Shares of Deere are trading up about 0.6% in the premarket this morning to $83.91. The 52-week range is $73.14 to $95.60. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $89.80 before today’s report.

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