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Deere boosts sales but fails to meet income projections

Keywords: Tags  Deere, agricultural equipment, industrial equipment, earnings, Samuel Allen, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — Deere & Co. saw its fiscal fourth-quarter sales rise 13.7 percent compared with a year earlier as demand for farming equipment climbed in North America and South America, but the agricultural and industrial equipment manufacturer fell just short of its projected targets for the full year.

Net income for the three months ended Oct. 31 climbed 2.7 percent to $687.6 million from $669.6 million in the same period in 2011 as sales climbed to a record $9.79 billion.

Agriculture and turf equipment sales were up 16 percent in the quarter, while construction and forestry equipment sales increased 7 percent. The Moline, Ill.-based company attributed the gains to increasing global demand for food and infrastructure, as well as rising commodity prices and strong farm incomes.

Net income for the full year increased 9.5 percent to $3.06 billion, while sales of $36.16 billion jumped 12.9 percent from the previous year. Still, the company’s net income fell short of projections—the company had previously said it expected earnings to reach $3.1 billion—due to the unfavorable effects of foreign currency exchange, as well as increased production costs and higher selling and administrative expenses.

Deere said it expects equipment sales to increase about 10 percent in its fiscal first quarter ending Dec. 31 and rise 5 percent for the full year, and anticipates fiscal-year income of about $3.2 billion.

"Deere remains well-positioned to carry out its growth plans and capitalize on positive long-term trends, even though present global economic and fiscal concerns warrant continued caution," chief executive officer Samuel Allen said in a statement.

The company expects sales to be flat in the European Union on weakness in the region’s markets and poor harvests in Britain, offsetting a "modest improvement" in U.S. economic conditions.

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