March 04, 2024

Deere Q4 profit jumps 69% despite strike and supply problems

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Deere & Co. said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 69% on strong sales of its agricultural and construction equipment despite a month-long strike that began near the end of the period, as well as ongoing supply chain problems.

The Moline-based company said Nov. 24 that it earned $1.28 billion, or $4.12 per share, in the quarter that ended Nov. 1. That’s up from $757 million, or $2.39 per share, a year ago when the pandemic slowed sales and layoff-related expenses hurt the bottom line.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $3.82 per share.

The agricultural equipment manufacturer said its revenue grew 16% to $11.33 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $10.28 billion, which missed Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $10.34 billion.

“Our results reflect strong end-market demand and our ability to continue serving customers while managing supply-chain issues and conducting contract negotiations with our largest union,” Deere CEO John May said in a statement.

More than 10,000 Deere workers were on strike at plants in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas from mid-October until recently when the United Auto Workers union accepted the company’s third offer that included 10% immediate raises and an $8,500 ratification bonus.

Deere officials estimated that the new contract will increase its pretax costs by about $250 million to $300 million a year, but that won’t put a significant dent in its profits.

In fiscal 2021, the company reported record profit of $5.96 billion, or $18.99 per share. Revenue was $39.74 billion. That bottom-line figure topped even Deere’s most-optimistic forecast.

Next year, Deere predicts its profits will grow even higher to between $6.5 billion and $7 billion as demand for its iconic green tractors remains high and infrastructure spending helps boost demand for its construction equipment. The company said demand will likely exceed what Deere can produce next year again because of the ongoing supply chain problems.

Deere’s stock jumped about 5.5% to $368.43 in midday trading after the results were announced.