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Deere & Co. (DE-N), the world's largest farm equipment maker, reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit as higher manufacturing costs and other expenses cut into earnings and a strong U.S. dollar reduced the value of international sales.
Net income rose to $687.6 million US, or $1.75 per share, in the fourth quarter ended on October 31 from $669.6 million, or $1.62 per share, a year earlier.
The results were 13 cents a share below the analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose 14 percent to $9.79 billion, with equipment operations contributing $9.05 billion. Analysts were expecting sales of $8.85 billion.
Stronger machinery sales in North America and higher prices offset weaker international demand and the negative impact from currency fluctuations.
Moline, Illinois-based Deere said it expected flat North American demand for farm equipment in fiscal 2013 after a strong 2012. Industry sales in euro zone countries will be flat to down slightly, while soft Indian and Chinese economies will keep demand flat there as well.
The company said it expected South America to show the strongest demand in 2013, reflecting a commodities boom.
Overall, Deere equipment sales will rise around 5 percent in fiscal 2013, with earnings increasing to about $3.2 billion from $3.07 billion in 2012, the company said.