Deere & Co. said Wednesday its third-quarter profit grew 47 percent because American and Canadian farmers bought enough of the company's large equipment to offset a sharp downturn in Europe, but Deere kept its forecast for the year conservative.
The company reported $617 million in net income, or $1.44 a share, in the quarter that ended July 31. That's up from $420 million, or 99 cents a 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.
European dairies and livestock producers are still recovering from losses of prior years, and rising crop prices will create new worries about feed costs for those businesses. And in eastern Europe and Russia, drought conditions and wildfires have hurt farmers.
Deere officials also said used inventories remain at high levels in Europe, so sales of new equipment has been hurt.
The company said it is performing well despite some challenging conditions. Deere's agricultural and turf equipment sales grew 12 percent in the quarter 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 easily beat Wall Street expectations. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of $1.24 on $6.52 billion revenue.
The company said it expects its sales to grow about 12 percent in fiscal 2010. That prediction is in line with the 11 to 13 percent range Deere offered in May.