Agco surprises with profit, but North American sales down

Agco reported that its North American sales dropped sharply in the first quarter, down 28 percent to $282.9 million from a year ago.

But strong sales in South America lifted the company to profitability, surprising analysts who has predicted a loss. It recorded a profit of $10.1 million in the quarter.

Weakness in the dairy and livestock sectors, plus dealers keeping less inventory in a weak economy, resulted in fewer sales. Haying equipment was among the hardest hit.

Agco makes all of its haying equipment at its plant in Hesston.

The company said it expects demand in North America to remain stable for the remainder of the year.