said third-quarter earnings jumped 62% from a year ago, as a corporate streamlining effort kicked in underneath 23% higher sales.
The tractor company earned $401 million, or $1.58 a share, in the three months ended July 31, up from earnings of $248 million, or $1.02 a share, last year. Revenue was $5.42 billion in the latest quarter compared with $4.40 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of $1.50 a share on sales of $4.94 billion.
"Our intense focus on asset management, cost control and responsive order fulfillment is helping Deere successfully manage the current high level of demand for our equipment. Through these efforts, we have been able to continue delivering exceptional service to customers, while securing raw materials as needed, and offsetting material-cost pressures to a large extent. As a result, the company is fully participating in the strong market upswing now taking place."
Deere raised its profit forecast for all of 2004 to $1.3 billion, reflecting equipment sales that are up 32% from the prior year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting net income of $1.18 billion. For the fourth quarter, Deere expects sales to rise 35% from a year ago.
"Although Deere continues to see higher costs for steel and other raw materials, aggressive cost management is expected to offset the biggest part of the increase for the year," the company said.
The stock was recently up $2.14, or 3.5%, to $63.16.