Deere 3Q Profit Up 47 Percent

Maker of agricultural equipment said?third-quarter profit grew 47 percent with American and Canadian farmers buying enough to offset?a sharp downturn in Europe.

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) -- Deere & Co. said Wednesday its third-quarter profit grew 47 percent with American and Canadian farmers buying enough of the company's large equipment to offset a sharp downturn in Europe.

The company reported $617 million net income, or $1.44 per share, in the quarter that ended July 31. That's up from $420 million, or 99 cents per share, a year ago.

Deere says global revenue spiked 16 percent to $6.84 billion.

Agricultural equipment sales in the U.S. and Canadian markets increased 19 percent in the quarter. Sales in other markets rose 16 percent, but that figure masks the European weakness.

"While we have benefited from positive conditions in the U.S. farm sector, particularly in terms of demand for large equipment, European markets are down sharply," Deere's chairman and CEO Samuel Allen said in a statement.

Overall, Deere's agricultural and turf equipment sales grew 12 percent to $5.2 billion from last year's $4.7 billion.

Demand for construction and forestry equipment has improved from last year, but Deere said it remains well below normal. Quarterly sales for that division jumped 59 percent to just over $1 billion from $632 million a year ago.

The quarterly results from the maker of iconic green-and-yellow farm and construction equipment easily beat Wall Street expectations. On average, analysts expected earnings per share of $1.24 on $6.52 billion revenue.

The company said it now expects its sales to grow about 12 percent in fiscal 2010. That prediction is in line with the 11 percent to 13 percent range Deere offered in May.

Deere also said it expects fourth-quarter net income to increase about 32 percent over last year to $375 million.

Deere, based in Moline, Illinois, is the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment, but it also makes construction, forestry and landscaping equipment.

Company shares fell 83 cents to $66.40 in premarket trading.