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News Releases

2015 News Releases and Information

Deere Announces First-Quarter Earnings of $387 Million

  • Weaker conditions in global farm economy contribute to lower results.
  • Construction and forestry and financial services operations have higher profits.
  • Further progress shown managing costs and assets.

MOLINE, Illinois (February 20, 2015) — Net income attributable to Deere & Company was $386.8 million, or $1.12 per share, for the first quarter ended January 31, compared with $681.1 million, or $1.81 per share, for the same period last year.

Worldwide net sales and revenues for the first quarter decreased 17 percent, to $6.383 billion, compared with $7.654 billion last year. Net sales of the equipment operations were $5.605 billion for the quarter compared with $6.949 billion a year ago.

"Deere's first-quarter performance reflected sluggish conditions in the global farm sector, which reduced demand for agricultural machinery, particularly larger models, and led to lower sales and income," said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer. "At the same time, our construction and forestry and financial services divisions had higher profits, showing the benefit of a well-rounded business lineup. Deere's results also demonstrated the progress we've made creating a more flexible, responsive cost structure."

Summary of Operations
Net sales of the worldwide equipment operations declined 19 percent for the quarter. Sales included price realization of 1 percent and an unfavorable currency-translation effect of 2 percent. Equipment net sales in the United States and Canada decreased 14 percent. Outside the U.S. and Canada, net sales were down 28 percent, with an unfavorable currency-translation effect of 5 percent.

Deere's equipment operations reported operating profit of $414 million for the quarter, compared with $891 million last year. The decline for the quarter was due primarily to lower shipment volumes and the impact of a less favorable product mix, partially offset by lower selling, administrative and general expenses and price realization. Net income of the company's equipment operations was $241 million for the quarter, compared with $543 million in 2014.

Financial services reported net income attributable to Deere & Company of $156.8 million for the quarter compared with $142.2 million last year. The improvement was primarily due to growth in the credit portfolio and higher insurance margins, partially offset by less favorable financing spreads. Last year's results also benefited from a more favorable effective tax rate.

Company Outlook & Summary
Company equipment sales are projected to decrease about 17 percent for fiscal 2015 and be down about 19 percent for the second quarter compared with year-ago periods. Included in the forecast is a negative currency-translation effect of about 3 percent for the full year and 4 percent for the second quarter. For fiscal 2015, net income attributable to Deere & Company is anticipated to be about $1.8 billion.

"Even with a continued pullback in the agricultural sector, John Deere expects to remain solidly profitable in 2015," Allen said. "Our forecast reflects a level of results much better than we've experienced in previous downturns. This illustrates our success establishing a wider range of revenue sources and a more durable business model."

Longer term, the company's future continues to hold great promise for customers and investors, Allen said. "Global population growth and rising living standards are powerful trends largely unaffected by periodic swings in the farm economy. At the same time, Deere's plans for reaching out to new markets and customer groups are making progress. For these reasons, we remain confident about the company's ability to deliver solid returns throughout the business cycle and to benefit from the world's need for productive equipment in the future."

Equipment Division Performance
  • Agriculture & Turf. Sales decreased 27 percent for the quarter due largely to lower shipment volumes, the previously announced sales of John Deere Landscapes and John Deere Water, and the unfavorable effects of currency translation. These factors were partially offset by price realization.

    Operating profit was $268 million compared with $797 million for the quarter last year. Lower results were driven primarily by reduced shipment volumes and a less favorable sales mix, partially offset by lower selling, administrative and general expenses and price realization.

  • Construction & Forestry. Construction and forestry sales increased 13 percent for the quarter mainly as a result of higher shipment volumes. Operating profit was $146 million for the quarter compared with $94 million in 2014. The improvement was due to higher shipment volumes, partially offset by higher sales-incentive costs and the unfavorable effects of foreign-currency exchange.

Market Conditions & Outlook
  • Agriculture & Turf. Deere's worldwide sales of agriculture and turf equipment are forecast to decrease by about 23 percent for fiscal-year 2015, including a negative currency-translation effect of about 4 percent.

    Lower commodity prices and falling farm incomes are putting pressure on demand for agricultural machinery, especially for larger models. Conditions are more positive in the U.S. livestock sector, supporting the sale of smaller sizes of equipment. Based on these factors, industry sales for agricultural equipment in the U.S. and Canada are forecast to be down 25 to 30 percent for 2015.

    Full-year 2015 industry sales in the EU28 are forecast to be down about 10 percent, with the decline attributable to lower crop prices and farm incomes as well as pressure on the dairy sector. In South America, industry sales of tractors and combines are projected to be down 10 to 15 percent mainly as a result of economic uncertainty in Brazil. Industry sales in the Commonwealth of Independent States are expected to be down significantly due to economic pressures and tight credit conditions in the region. Asian sales are projected to be down slightly, with most of the decline occurring in China and India.

    Industry sales of turf and utility equipment in the U.S. and Canada are expected to be flat to up 5 percent for 2015, benefiting from general economic growth.

  • Construction & Forestry. Deere's worldwide sales of construction and forestry equipment are forecast to increase by about 5 percent for 2015. The gain reflects economic growth and higher housing starts in the U.S. offset in part by weakening conditions in the energy sector and energy-producing regions. Global forestry sales are expected to hold steady with the attractive levels of 2014, as gains in the U.S. and Europe are offset by declines elsewhere.

  • Financial Services. Fiscal-year 2015 net income attributable to Deere & Company for the financial services operations is expected to be approximately $630 million. The outlook reflects the expected impact of the previously announced agreement to sell the crop insurance operations and growth in the average credit portfolio. These factors are projected to be partially offset by lower financing spreads, an expected increase in the provision for credit losses from the low level in 2014 and a less favorable tax rate.

John Deere Capital Corporation

The following is disclosed on behalf of the company's financial services subsidiary, John Deere Capital Corporation (JDCC), in connection with the disclosure requirements applicable to its periodic issuance of debt securities in the public market.

Net income attributable to John Deere Capital Corporation was $133.6 million for the first quarter, compared with $136.5 million last year. Lower results for the quarter were primarily due to a less favorable effective tax rate and lower financing spreads, partially offset by growth in the credit portfolio.

Net receivables and leases financed by JDCC were $31.508 billion and $30.019 billion at January 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Safe Harbor Statement

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements under "Company Outlook & Summary," "Market Conditions & Outlook," and other forward-looking statements herein that relate to future events, expectations, trends and operating periods involve certain factors that are subject to change, and important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Some of these risks and uncertainties could affect particular lines of business, while others could affect all of the company's businesses.

The company's agricultural equipment business is subject to a number of uncertainties including the many interrelated factors that affect farmers' confidence. These factors include demand for agricultural products, world grain stocks, weather conditions (including its effects on timely planting and harvesting), soil conditions (including low subsoil moisture), harvest yields, prices for commodities and livestock, crop and livestock production expenses, availability of transport for crops, the growth and sustainability of non-food uses for some crops (including ethanol and biodiesel production), real estate values, available acreage for farming, the land ownership policies of various governments, changes in government farm programs and policies (including those in Argentina, Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Russia and the U.S.), international reaction to such programs, changes in and effects of crop insurance programs, global trade agreements, animal diseases and their effects on poultry, beef and pork consumption and prices, crop pests and diseases, and the level of farm product exports (including concerns about genetically modified organisms).

Factors affecting the outlook for the company's turf and utility equipment include consumer confidence, weather conditions, customer profitability, consumer borrowing patterns, consumer purchasing preferences, housing starts, infrastructure investment, spending by municipalities and golf courses, and consumable input costs.

Consumer spending patterns, real estate and housing prices, the number of housing starts and interest rates are especially important to sales of the company's construction and forestry equipment. The levels of public and non-residential construction also impact the results of the company's construction and forestry segment. Prices for pulp, paper, lumber and structural panels are important to sales of forestry equipment.

All of the company's businesses and its reported results are affected by general economic conditions in the global markets and industries in which the company operates, especially material changes in economic activity in these markets and industries; customer confidence in general economic conditions; foreign currency exchange rates and their volatility, especially fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar; interest rates; and inflation and deflation rates. Government spending and taxing could adversely affect the economy, employment, consumer and corporate spending, and company results.

Customer and company operations and results could be affected by changes in weather patterns (including the effects of drought and drier than normal conditions in certain markets); the political and social stability of the global markets in which the company operates; the effects of, or response to, terrorism and security threats; wars and other conflicts and the threat thereof and the response thereto; natural disasters; and the spread of major epidemics.

Significant changes in market liquidity conditions and any failure to comply with financial covenants in credit agreements could impact access to funding and funding costs, which could reduce the company's earnings and cash flows. Financial market conditions could also negatively impact customer access to capital for purchases of the company's products and customer confidence and purchase decisions; borrowing and repayment practices; and the number and size of customer loan delinquencies and defaults. A debt crisis, in Europe or elsewhere, could negatively impact currencies, global financial markets, social and political stability, funding sources and costs, asset and obligation values, customers, suppliers, and company operations and results. State debt crises also could negatively impact customers, suppliers, demand for equipment, and company operations and results. The company's investment management activities could be impaired by changes in the equity, bond and other financial markets, which would negatively affect earnings.

Additional factors that could materially affect the company's operations, access to capital, expenses and results include changes in and the impact of governmental trade, banking, monetary and fiscal policies, including financial regulatory reform and its effects on the consumer finance industry, derivatives, funding costs and other areas, and governmental programs, policies, tariffs and sanctions in particular jurisdictions or for the benefit of certain industries or sectors (including protectionist, economic, punitive and expropriation policies and trade and licensing restrictions that could disrupt international commerce); actions by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and other central banks; actions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other financial regulators; actions by environmental, health and safety regulatory agencies, including those related to engine emissions, carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, noise and the effects of climate change; changes in labor regulations; changes to accounting standards; changes in tax rates, estimates, and regulations and company actions related thereto; compliance with U.S. and foreign laws when expanding to new markets and otherwise; and actions by other regulatory bodies including changes in laws and regulations affecting the sectors in which the company operates. Trade, financial and other sanctions imposed by the U.S., the European Union, Russia and other countries could negatively impact company assets, operations, sales, forecasts and results. Customer and company operations and results also could be affected by changes to GPS radio frequency bands or their permitted uses.

Other factors that could materially affect results include production, design and technological innovations and difficulties, including capacity and supply constraints and prices; the availability and prices of strategically sourced materials, components and whole goods; delays or disruptions in the company's supply chain or the loss of liquidity by suppliers; the failure of suppliers to comply with laws, regulations and company policy pertaining to employment, human rights, health, safety, the environment and other ethical business practices; events that damage the company's reputation or brand; significant investigations, claims, lawsuits or other legal proceedings; start-up of new plants and new products; the success of new product initiatives and customer acceptance of new products; changes in customer product preferences and sales mix whether as a result of changes in equipment design to meet government regulations or for other reasons; gaps or limitations in rural broadband coverage, capacity and speed needed to support technology solutions; oil and energy prices, supplies and volatility; the availability and cost of freight; actions of competitors in the various industries in which the company competes, particularly price discounting; dealer practices especially as to levels of new and used field inventories; labor relations and contracts; acquisitions and divestitures of businesses; the integration of new businesses; the implementation of organizational changes; difficulties related to the conversion and implementation of enterprise resource planning systems that disrupt business, negatively impact supply or distribution relationships or create higher than expected costs; security breaches and other disruptions to the company's information technology infrastructure; and changes in company declared dividends and common stock issuances and repurchases.

Company results are also affected by changes in the level and funding of employee retirement benefits, changes in market values of investment assets, the level of interest and discount rates, and compensation, retirement and mortality rates which impact retirement benefit costs, and significant changes in health care costs including those which may result from governmental action.

The liquidity and ongoing profitability of John Deere Capital Corporation and other credit subsidiaries depend largely on timely access to capital in order to meet future cash flow requirements, to fund operations and costs associated with engaging in diversified funding activities, and to fund purchases of the company's products. If general economic conditions deteriorate or capital markets become volatile, funding could be unavailable or insufficient. Additionally, customer confidence levels may result in declines in credit applications and increases in delinquencies and default rates, which could materially impact write-offs and provisions for credit losses.

The company's outlook is based upon assumptions relating to the factors described above, which are sometimes based upon estimates and data prepared by government agencies. Such estimates and data are often revised. The company, except as required by law, undertakes no obligation to update or revise its outlook, whether as a result of new developments or otherwise. Further information concerning the company and its businesses, including factors that potentially could materially affect the company's financial results, is included in the company's other filings with the SEC (including, but not limited to, the factors discussed in Item 1A. Risk Factors of the company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q).



This media release, financial highlights, and more financial data are
available in PDF format.

For further information, the news media should call:

Ken Golden
Director, Global Public Relations
Deere & Company