Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co. last week announced worldwide net income of $238.7 million, or $1.04 per share, for its fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $235.9 million, or 99 cents per share, for the same period last year.
Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 5 percent to $4.4 billion for the first quarter compared with $4.2 billion a year ago. Net sales of the equipment operations were $3.8 billion for the quarter compared with $3.7 billion last year.
Strong operating performance and a positive customer response to the company's advanced products and services contributed to the quarter's results, according to chairman and CEO Robert Lane.
"Exciting new equipment and services are helping John Deere attract customers and expand our market presence throughout the world," Lane said. "In addition, our focus on rigorous asset management is allowing Deere to serve a growing global customer base while maintaining lean, efficient inventory levels. In fact, for the last 27 quarters, trade receivables and inventories in relation to sales have declined, compared with the same quarter of the prior year."
Net sales of the worldwide equipment operations increased 3 percent for the quarter. Equipment sales in the United States and Canada were 5 percent lower for the quarter, while net sales outside the U.S. and Canada increased by 24 percent for the quarter.
Deere's ongoing emphasis on asset management is continuing to yield positive results, the company said.
Financial services reported net income of $88.2 million for the quarter compared with $96.6 million last year. Income from continuing operations was $88.2 million for the quarter versus $84.6 million a year earlier.
Construction and forestry sales declined 7 percent for the quarter as a result of lower sales volumes in the U.S. and Canada. Operating profit declined to $95 million, versus $136 million last year, primarily due to lower shipments and inefficiencies related to lower production volumes. Last year's results included expenses related to the closure of a Canadian forestry-equipment facility.
Deere sales are projected to be up slightly for full-year 2007 and to increase approximately 5 percent for the second quarter. Net income is forecast to be around $1.4 billion for the year and in a range of $525 million to $550 million for the second quarter.
Deere's continuing progress in asset management has given the company improved flexibility to respond to changing market conditions, the company says.
"As a result of our efforts to build a more agile company, Deere is better able to align production with shifts in the retail marketplace," Lane said. "This success puts the company in a stronger position to serve a growing customer base worldwide. In conjunction with increasing demand for renewable fuels and other positive global economic factors, it also strengthens our ability to deliver strong financial results."