Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer, Deere and Company, reports record net income for the third quarter of $537 million.
That’s up from $436 million at this time a year ago. Bill Ratzburg, Deere’s director of investor relations, says total sales for the quarter reached nearly $6 billion.
According to Ratzburg, "income increased 23 percent and diluted earnings per share rose 28 percent. Third quarter total worldwide equipment operations net sales were up five percent compared to the prior year quarter."
Deere is based in the Quad Cities, in the heart of corn country, and was founded as an agricultural implement maker. Farming continues to be one of the company’s financial cornerstones, as Ratzburg says ag equipment production volumes rose during the third quarter.
"Our outlook for industry sales of agricultural equipment in the U.S. and Canada, remains up about five-percent for fiscal year 2007 versus fiscal year 2006, reflecting continued strength in large tractors," Ratzburg says.
Deere’s quarterly sales rose five-percent overall, mainly due to a 16 percent rise in ag equipment sales and a 15 pecent boost in commercial and consumer equipment sales.
As America’s housing market is experiencing one of its worst slumps in years, Ratzburg says Deere’s construction and forestry equipment divisions are seeing drops in their projections for the months ahead.
"This is a challenging environment with U.S. housing starts falling to 1.4 million from 2.1 million less than two years ago. Despite this, construction and forestry earned operating margins of about 12-percent in the third quarter," Ratzburg says.
Deere’s earnings were released today in a live webcast. To hear the entire news conference, visit Deere’s website .