Deere Rocked By Bursting Of U.S. Farmland Bubble: Sales Miss, Profit Tumbles, Forecast Cut

The bursting of the farmland bubble should come as no surprise to regular readers: we covered it extensively over the past year in post such as "Another Bubble Pops: Price Of Farmland Suffers First Annual Decline Since 1986", "The Tragedy Of The American Farmer, Revealed In A Craiglist "For Sale" Post", and most recently "US Farmers In "Dire Straits": JPM Warns Of Imminent Liquidity Crunch"

For those strapped for time, here is the summary:


Moments ago said burst bubble came to roost when Deere (DE) reported EPS of $1.53 which beat expectations modestly, if down 35% from a year ago, yet which missed on the top-line with revenues coming in weak at $6.84bn, vs consensus expectations of $7.17bn. The one sentence summary: Deere revenues down 22%, profits down 39%.

Deere also cut 2015 net income from $1.9 billion to $1.8 billion, far below Wall Street's estimates of a $1.93 billion.

But the worst aspect of the just reported earnings was the commentary which confirmed that the bursting farmland bubble has finally trickled through to the income statement. To wit:

"John Deere's third-quarter results reflected the continuing impact of the downturn in the farm economy as well as lower demand for construction equipment," said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer. 

Lower commodity prices and falling farm incomes are continuing to pressure demand for agricultural machinery, with the declines most pronounced in higher-horsepower models. Conditions are more positive in the U.S. livestock sector, supporting some improvement in the sales 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 about 25 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 20 to 25 percent mainly as a result of economic uncertainty in Brazil and higher interest rates on government-sponsored financing. Asian sales are projected to be down moderately, with most of the decline in India and China. Industry sales in the Commonwealth of Independent States are expected to be down significantly due to economic pressures and tight credit conditions.

Company equipment sales are projected to decrease about 21 percent for fiscal 2015 and to be down about 24 percent for the fourth quarter compared with year-ago periods.  Included in the forecast is a negative foreign-currency translation effect of about 4 percent for the full year and 5 percent for the fourth quarter. For fiscal 2015, net income attributable to Deere & Company is anticipated to be about $1.8 billion.

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