Deere Tops Q4 Earnings Forecast, Sees Solid 2021 Profit Gains

Deere said higher world crop prices "are leading to renewed optimism in the agricultural sector and improving demand for farm equipment" and should help provide a solid boost to 2021 profits.

Deere & Co.  (DE) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Wednesday, and issued a solid 2021 profit outlook, amid what the group sees as improving global demand for construction and forestry equipment  

Deere said earnings for the three months ending in October, the group's fiscal fourth quarter, came in at $2.39 per share, up 5.3% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.49 per share. Group worldwide sales, Deere said, fell 2% from last year to $9.73 billion, just shy of analysts' forecasts of a $9.89 billion tally.

Looking into the end of the 2021 fiscal year, Deer said it sees worldwide agriculture and turf equipment sales rising between 10% and 15% from 2020 level, a notably more positive forecast than it issued following third quarter earnings in August. Construction and forestry equipment sales, Deere said, are likely to rise between 5% and 10%. Overall net income, Deere said, is likely to come in at $3.6 billion to $4 billion compared to a May forecast of between $1.6 billion and $2 billion.

“John Deere delivered another quarter of strong performance and a solid year despite the challenges associated with managing the pandemic,” said CEO John May. “In this regard, I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of John Deere employees, dealers and suppliers throughout the world who have helped us safely maintain our operations and serve customers. Because of their contributions, Deere was able to complete a successful year and is positioned to continue providing differentiated solutions and unlocking even greater value for customers."

“Higher crop prices and improved fundamentals are leading to renewed optimism in the agricultural sector and improving demand for farm equipment,” May added. “At the same time, we are looking forward to realizing the benefits of our smart industrial operating strategy, which is designed to accelerate the delivery of solutions that will drive improved profitability and sustainability in our customers’ operations."

Deere shares were marked 0.9% higher in early trading Wednesday following the earnings release to change hands at $263.66, extending their year-to-date advance past 50% and valuing the Moline, Illinois-based equipment maker at just under $82 billion.