Quad-Cities-based Deere & Company is reporting increased earnings for the final quarter of the year. The farm and construction machinery maker reported net income of nearly $688 million or $1.75 per share for the fourth quarter.

That’s more than the nearly $670 million or $1.62 per share a year ago. The company says the increase was driven by strong revenue growth for farm machinery. Deere says it continued with the record introduction of new products during the quarter.

And it opened or moved ahead with new factories in Brazil, China and India. The company expects sales to increase by about 10 percent for the first quarter of 2013. Deere is Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer.

By Phil Roberts, Davenport

Here is more info on Deere’s earnings:

Deere spokesman, Ken Golden, says worldwide sales and revenue increased 13-percent to $36-billion. And growth continued to be “broad-based.” Farm equipment sales rose 13-percent, while sales of construction and forestry equipment rose 19-percent.

He says both had double-digit increases in sales and were both profitable and he says they look forward to further advancements in the new year. “We think that overall our sales will be up five-percent in 2013, and we project at this point that we will set a net income record,” Golden says.

Deere still expects demand for food and infrastructure to continue next year. But Golden says the company is “cautious” because of the global economy, the “fiscal cliff,” and weather. “The outcome of the drought isn’t fully known as we have people bringing in crops. Costs of commodities are changing somewhat, but not very much,” Golden says.

“We believe that the drought itself has impacted farmers in different ways. We did note today that overall U.S. farm income is higher than ever. So, that usually bodes well for equipment sales.” And as good as the last three years have been, Deere thinks 2013 will be even better.

The company predicts profits will set another record at $3.2-billion.