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Deere raises dividend, announces Chinese expansion

Deere & Co. (DE-N) raised its quarterly dividend to 41 cents a share, payable on Aug. 1 to shareholders of record at the end of June. This marks the ninth dividend hike in seven years.

Separately, the world's biggest farm equipment maker, announced it will spend about $60 million US to build an engine factory in Tianjin, China, marking its second investment in the country this month.

The engine plant will be Deere's sixth globally. It could start production in late 2013, the company said Tuesday.

Deere's current engine factories are in the United States, Mexico, India, Argentina and France.

The company buys engines from other suppliers for equipment built in China and will continue to do so for some of the products it manufactures there, spokesman Ken Golden said.

Deere said last week that it would commit $80 million to build a metal, painting and assembly plant in Harbin, China, to meet higher demand for large farm machinery. It expects that factory to come on line late next year.

The company already makes harvesting equipment in the region.

A boom in farm incomes around the world has raised Deere's agricultural equipment sales in recent quarters. Analysts on average expect its 2011 revenue to reach just under $29 billion, with the bulk of that from farm and turf machinery, up from $23.6 billion US last year and $20.6 billion in fiscal 2009, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Deere, which competes with Agco Corp. (AGCO-N) and CNH Global NV (CNH-N), reported higher-than-expected quarterly results last week and raised its estimate for equipment sales, although concerns about impact from Japan's earthquake pushed its shares lower. CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24