Deere Misses on Profit as Sales Rise


Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) reported fourth-quarter and full-year fiscal 2012 results before markets opened this morning. For the quarter the company posted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.75 and $9.8 billion in revenues. In the same period a year ago, the farm machinery firm reported EPS of $1.62 on revenue of $8.6 billion. Today;s results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.88 and $8.85 billion in revenue.

For the full year, Deere reported EPS of $7.63 on revenues of $36.16 billion, compared with EPS of $6.63 on revenues of $32 billion in 2011. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $7.77 on revenues of $33.47 billion.

The company's CEO said:

John Deere's performance illustrates the continuing impact of our operating model, which stresses a disciplined approach to cost and asset management. As a result, we are achieving strong financial results and generating high levels of cash flow. These dollars are funding growth activities throughout the world and providing value directly to investors.

The company forecast that full-year equipment sales for fiscal year 2013 would be up about 5% and first quarter sales would rise about 10%. The company also expects net income of around $3.2 billion in 2013, up 4.4% from the $3.065 billion posted in the 2012 fiscal year.

North American sales were up 26% in the quarter, while international sales were down 2%. For the full year, U.S. and Canadian sales rose 20%, while international sales rose 5%. Currency translation effects cost Deere 7% in the fourth quarter and 5% over the full year.

The other big impact on net income was rising costs, which the company attributed to "new products, engine-emission requirements and incentive compensation expenses." This could mean that the company is unable to raise prices enough to maintain margins and still continue to be competitive with its competitors. A back-of-the-envelope calculation puts gross margin at around 12.7% in the fourth quarter, down from about 13.4% in the same period a year ago.

Deere's shares are down about 1.2% in premarket trading, at $85.00 in a 52-week range of $69.51 to $89.70. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $90.00 before today's results were announced.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Agriculture, Earnings, Industrials Tagged: DE