Deere's strong earnings aided by pricing boost, shares hit record high
By Bianca Flowers and Aishwarya Nair
CHICAGO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Deere & Co on Wednesday posted a quarterly profit that easily beat Wall Street estimates with strong sales accelerated by price hikes for its agriculture and construction equipment, sending its shares to a record high.
Despite supply chain challenges, the world's largest farm equipment maker reported a 75% increase in profit for its final quarter of its fiscal year and forecast higher net income for next year.
The company's shares surged after the report, and were last up 6.4% to $443.09 in morning trading.
With order books full through the third quarter of 2023 for most of Deere's farm equipment and combines sold out, the company is forecasting solid growth in profit margins across business segments.
"They had broad-based strength across all their divisions," said Matt Arnold, an equity analyst at Edward Jones. "The demand environment is really healthy, and (Deere) is translating that into a big upturn in earnings."
Deere executives told shareholders on a conference call that supply chain logjams were starting to ease and gave an optimistic outlook for 2023. The company is also eyeing an uptick in construction sales from infrastructure spending.
"We executed to our plans, saw substantial lift in production and outpaced the industry production and retail sales. This resulted in our highest revenue and margin quarter for the year," CEO John May said on the call.
The industrial bellwether expects net income between $8.0 billion and $8.5 billion for fiscal year 2023, along with higher sales. The company has outperformed the broader market, with shares rising roughly 29% year-to-date including Wednesday's gains.
Deere's earnings beat mirrored rival Caterpillar Inc's third-quarter results. Caterpillar also benefited from price increases for its products to help offset rising raw material and production costs. The Moline, Illinois-based company's net income rose to $2.25 billion, or $7.44 per share, topping a consensus forecast of $7.11 per share for the quarter ending in October.
Operating profit for Deere's construction and forestry equipment grew 53% from a year earlier, while precision agriculture products saw the biggest increase, rising 124%.
Total net sales and revenue jumped 37% to $15.54 billion. Equipment net sales rose to $14.35 billion, topping estimates of $13.39 billion, according to Refinitiv.
(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru and Bianca Flowers in Chicago; editing by Anil D'Silva, Jason Neely, Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci)
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