Deere Reports Lower Q4/FY Earnings on Farm Recession, Week C/E Markets

Net income attributable to Deere & Company was $285.3 million for the fourth quarter ended October 31, compared with $351.2 million for the same period of 2015. For fiscal 2016, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $1.524 billion compared with $1.940 billion in 2015.

Worldwide net sales and revenues decreased 3%, to $6.520 billion, for the fourth quarter and were down 8%, to $26.644 billion, for the full year. Net sales of the equipment operations were $5.650 billion for the quarter and $23.387 billion for the year, compared with respective totals of $5.932 billion and $25.775 billion in 2015.

The company noted that the global farm recession, weak construction-equipment markets lead to lower sales and earnings for fourth quarter and full year.

“John Deere has completed another successful year in spite of continuing weakness in the global agricultural and construction equipment sectors,” said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and CEO. “The company in 2016 had one of its 10 best years in both sales and earnings, a noteworthy achievement in light of the difficult business climate.”

Net sales of the worldwide equipment operations declined 5% for the quarter and 9% for the full year compared with the same periods in 2015. Sales included price realization of 3% for the quarter and 2% for the full year. Additionally, sales included a favorable currency-translation effect of 1% for the quarter and an unfavorable currency translation effect of 2% for the full year. Equipment net sales in the U.S. and Canada decreased 14% for the quarter and 13% for the full year.

Outside the U.S. and Canada, net sales increased 11% for the quarter and were down 3% for the full year, with a favorable currency-translation effect of 3% for the quarter and an unfavorable currency-translation effect of 4% for the year.

Company equipment sales are projected to decrease about 1% for fiscal 2017 and be down about 4% for the first quarter compared with the same periods of 2016. Included in the forecast is a positive foreign-currency translation effect of about 1% for the year and about 2% for the first quarter. Net sales and revenues are projected to decrease about 1% for fiscal 2017, while net income attributable to Deere & Company is anticipated to be about $1.4 billion.

During Q4/16, the company announced voluntary employee-separation programs as part of its effort to reduce operating costs. The expense of these programs is recorded in the period in which employees accept their separation offer. Total pretax expenses related to the programs are estimated to be $116 million, of which $11 million was recorded in Q4/16, and $105 million will be recorded in Q1/17. Savings from the separation programs are expected to be approximately $75 million in 2017.

“Our forecast continues to represent a standard of performance that is considerably higher than in earlier downturns,” Allen said. “This illustrates our ongoing success developing a more durable business model and a wider range of revenue sources. At the same time, we are driving further efficiency gains and have confidence we can deliver structural cost reductions of at least $500 million by the end of 2018.”

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