Deere 1Q Profit More Than Doubles, Easily Topping Views

Boosted by rising U.S. and Canadian sales, Deere (NYSE:DE) more than doubled its fiscal first-quarter profits, prompting the world’s largest maker of tractors to upgrade its full-year targets.

Moline, Ill.-based Deere said it earned $513 million, or $1.20 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $243.2 million, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been calling for EPS of just 99 cents.

Sales jumped 27% to $6.12 billion, solidly surpassing consensus calls for $5.67 billion. Equipment sales in the U.S. and Canada soared 35%, compared with a 22% rise elsewhere.

“John Deere's first-quarter results reflect improving demand for our innovative lines of equipment coupled with the skillful execution of our business plans," CEO Samuel Allen said in a statement. “Our record first-quarter performance is especially gratifying in light of market conditions that remain below normal levels in certain key sectors."

Looking ahead, Deere said it now expects full-year 2011 net income of $2.5 billion, up from its November forecast of $2.1 billion. Equipment sales are anticipated to soar 18% to 20%, while construction and forestry sales are seen surging 35%.

For the current quarter, Deere said it expects equipment sales to leap 25%

"Our balanced approach to cash flow management means we will continue setting the stage for future sales and earnings gains through the aggressive funding of organic growth while also remaining focused on returning cash directly to shareholders," Allen said.

Shares of Deere received a boost from the guidance and results, climbing 3.61% to $97.00 in Wednesday’s markets.