Agricultural equipment maker Agco ( AG - Get Report) said its first-quarter earnings fell almost 20%, but the results beat Wall Street's forecast.

The Duluth, Ga.-based company earned $17.3 million, or 19 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $21.5 million, or 23 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted earnings, which exclude restructuring charges and other items, also totaled 19 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 11 cents a share.

First-quarter revenue fell 6.9% to $1.17 billion, hurt by lower seasonal increases in dealer inventories in North America, weaker market conditions in South America and Asia/Pacific and unfavorable currency movements. Still, the top line beat analysts' estimate of $1.14 billion.

"As expected, our first quarter results were impacted by our actions to reduce seasonal working capital requirements, particularly in North America," the company said.

The company expects its 2006 net sales to be slightly below 2005 levels, based on lower industry demand, planned dealer inventory reductions and currency translation. Agco said actions to reduce seasonal increases in dealer and company inventories will continue to result in lower year-over-year sales and earnings for the first half of 2006.

Analysts are expecting revenue of $5.4 billion for 2006.

The company's shares recently were up $3.32, or 14%, to $26.99.

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