Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Deere & Co., the world’s largest farm-equipment maker, reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as U.S. farmers flush with cash bought tractors and other high-horsepower equipment.
Net income rose 46 percent to $669.6 million, or $1.62 a share in the quarter ended Oct. 31, from $457.2 million, or $1.07, a year earlier, Moline, Illinois-based Deere said today in a statement. Analysts projected per-share profit of $1.44, the average of 15 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales climbed 20 percent to $8.61 billion from $7.2 billion.
Fiscal 2012 profit will be $3.2 billion, the company said in its initial forecast for the period. That’s more than the $2.95 billion average estimate of 15 analysts.
“The U.S. seems to be holding up,” Jeff Windau, a St. Louis-based analyst for Edward Jones & Co. who rates the shares “hold,” said in a Nov. 21 telephone interview. “There is still pretty good demand.”
Deere, led by Chief Executive Officer Sam Allen, has benefited as U.S. farmers used cash from rising corn and soybean prices to buy high-horsepower tractors and combines. U.S. farm income will jump 31 percent this year to a record $103.6 billion, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in August. In fiscal 2010, 65 percent of Deere’s sales came from the U.S. and Canada.
Cropland values in the U.S. Great Plains surged 25 percent to a record because of bumper corn and wheat harvests, according to a survey in the third quarter by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City that covered all or parts of states including Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
(Deere will hold a conference call at 10 a.m. New York time, which can be viewed at LIVE <GO> or at the company’s website, www.JohnDeere.com/confcall.)
--Editors: Steven Frank, Simon Casey
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