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DEERE REPORTS 1Q LOSS OF $535 MILLION
Source: Deere & Co. news release

Moline, Illinois - Deere & Co. has reported a net loss of $535.1 million for the first quarter ended Jan. 28, 2018, or $1.66 per share, compared with net income of $199.0 million, or $0.62 per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 29, 2017.

Affecting first-quarter 2018 results were charges to the provision for income taxes due to the enactment of U.S. tax reform legislation on Dec. 22, 2017 (tax reform). The provisional income tax expense includes a write-down of net deferred tax assets of $715.6 million, reflecting a reduction in the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% beginning on the enactment date, as well as the cost of a mandatory deemed repatriation of previously untaxed non-U.S. earnings of $261.6 million, partially offset by a favorable reduction in the annual effective tax rate and other adjustments of $12.1 million. Without these adjustments, first-quarter net income would have been $430.0 million, or $1.31 per share.

Worldwide net sales and revenues for the first quarter increased 23%, to $6.913 billion, compared with $5.625 billion for the same period last year. Net sales of the equipment operations were $5.974 billion for the quarter compared with $4.698 billion a year ago.

"Deere has continued to experience strong increases in demand for its products as conditions in key markets show further improvement," said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer. "Sales gains for the quarter, however, were moderated by bottlenecks in the supply chain and logistical delays in shipping products to our dealers. In line with strengthening conditions, we have raised our sales and adjusted-earnings forecasts for 2018 and have confidence we will be able to fulfill the needs of our customers over the course of the year."

Summary of Operations

Net sales of the worldwide equipment operations increased 27% for the quarter. Deere's completion of the acquisition of the Wirtgen Group (Wirtgen) in December 2017 added 5% to net sales for the quarter. Sales also included a favorable currency-translation effect of 3%. Equipment net sales in the U.S. and Canada increased 24%, with Wirtgen adding 1%. Outside the U.S. and Canada, net sales increased 33%, with Wirtgen adding 12%, and a favorable currency-translation effect of 5%.

Deere's equipment operations reported operating profit of $419 million for the quarter, compared with $255 million for the period in 2017. Results for the quarter included an operating loss for Wirtgen of $92 million, attributable to the unfavorable effects of purchase accounting and acquisition costs. Excluding the Wirtgen loss, the improvement was primarily driven by higher shipment volumes and lower warranty costs, partially offset by higher production costs. In addition, the prior period included a gain on the sale of SiteOne Landscapes Supply, Inc. (SiteOne), and incurred expenses associated with a voluntary employee-separation program.

The company's equipment operations reported a net loss of $964 million for the first quarter, compared with net income of $85 million for the same period last year. In addition to the operating factors mentioned above, the quarter was unfavorably affected by a provisional income tax expense and adjustments of $1.243 billion related to tax reform.

Financial services reported net income attributable to Deere & Co. of $425.3 million for the quarter compared with $114.4 million for the same period last year. The increase was largely attributable to a provisional income tax benefit of $278.1 million related to tax reform. Additionally, quarterly results benefited from a higher average portfolio and lower losses on lease residual values. Last year's results included expenses associated with a voluntary employee-separation program.

Company Outlook & Summary

Company equipment sales are projected to increase by about 29% for fiscal 2018 and by 30-40% for the second quarter compared with the same periods of 2017. Of these amounts, Wirtgen is expected to add about 12% to Deere's net sales for the full year and about 16% for the second quarter. Also included in the forecast is a positive foreign-currency translation effect of about 3% for the year and about 4% for the second quarter. Net sales and revenues are projected to increase by about 25% for fiscal 2018. Net income attributable to Deere & Co. is forecast to be about $2.1 billion. The net income outlook includes an unfavorable impact of tax reform estimated at $750 million, representing the net impact of the tax provision recorded at the enactment date of tax reform, partially offset by a lower effective tax rate over the remainder of the year. As a result, adjusted net income without the impact of the tax-reform adjustments is expected to be about $2.85 billion for the year.

"Although net income for the quarter and full year are being affected by the upfront costs of U.S. tax reform legislation, we believe the changes will reduce the company's overall tax rate and be beneficial in the future," said Allen. "At the same time, Deere is in good position to capitalize on the strengthening conditions we see in the world's agricultural and construction equipment markets. This underscores our success developing a more durable business model while making steady investments in new products, businesses, markets and technologies. As a result of these steps, Deere has become more profitable across the business cycle than in the past. We remain confident in the company's present direction and believe Deere is on track to continue delivering significant value to customers and investors in the future."

Equipment Division Performance

Agriculture & Turf. Sales increased 18% for the quarter due to higher shipment volumes and the favorable effects of currency translation.

Operating profit was $387 million compared with $218 million last year. The quarter's improvement was driven mainly by higher shipment volumes and lower warranty costs, partially offset by higher production costs. The prior period benefited from a gain on the SiteOne sale and was affected by voluntary employee-separation expenses.

Construction & Forestry. Construction and forestry sales increased 57 percent for the quarter, with Wirtgen adding 23%. Additionally, net sales increased due to higher shipment volumes and the favorable effects of currency translation.

The division reported operating profit of $32 million for the quarter compared with $37 million for the period in 2017. Lower results were attributable to an operating loss for Wirtgen of $92 million related to the effects of purchase accounting and acquisition costs. Excluding Wirtgen, the improvement for the quarter was primarily driven by higher shipment volumes, partially offset by higher production costs. Results last year also included voluntary employee-separation costs.

Market Conditions & Outlook

Agriculture & Turf. Deere's worldwide sales of agriculture and turf equipment are forecast to increase by about 15% for fiscal-year 2018, including a positive currency-translation effect of about 3%. Industry sales for agricultural equipment in the U.S. and Canada are forecast to be up about 10% for 2018, led by higher demand for large equipment. Full-year industry sales in the EU28 member nations are forecast to be up about 5% due to improving conditions in the dairy and livestock sectors. South American industry sales of tractors and combines are projected to be flat to up 5% as a result of continued positive conditions, particularly in Argentina. Asian sales are forecast to be in line with last year. Industry sales of turf and utility equipment in the U.S. and Canada are expected to be flat to up 5% for 2018. Deere's turf sales are expected to outperform the industry owing to the success of new products.

Construction & Forestry. Deere's worldwide sales of construction and forestry equipment are anticipated to be up about 80% for 2018, including a positive currency-translation effect of about 2%. Wirtgen is expected to add about 56% to the division's sales for the year. The outlook reflects continued improvement in demand driven by higher housing starts in the U.S., increased activity in the oil and gas sector, and economic growth worldwide. In forestry, global industry sales are expected to be up about 5% mainly as a result of improved demand throughout the world, led by North America.

Financial Services. Fiscal-year 2018 net income attributable to Deere & Co. for the financial services operations is expected to be approximately $840 million, which includes about $320 million of favorable changes associated with tax reform. Additionally, results are expected to benefit from a higher average portfolio and lower losses on lease residual values, partially offset by increased selling, administrative and general expenses.