24 November 1999
Deere bullish despite losses

JOHN DEERE, the US farm and construction equipment maker, was dragged into the red in the fourth quarter of its financial year.

A combination of depressed farm incomes and a US$40 million charge for an early retirement programme left the group facing a $29.5m (£18.2m) loss for the three months to the end of October.

That compares with a $161.1m profit a year ago, and took Deeres earnings for the year to $239.2m – less than one-fifth of the $1.02bn it earned in 1997/98. Sales for the year were down from $13.8bn to $11.6bn.

Deere said it would have been in profit except for the charge. It remained bullish about the future predicting some improvement for agricultural equipment next year.

Overall, it said it was still expecting industry-wide retail sales to be down 5% to 10% in North America with similar declines in other significant markets.