Deere posts strong sales

Deere & Company reported a net income of $68 million or $0.28/share for the first quarter ending January 31. A year ago, the company reported a net loss of $38.1 million, or $0.16/share.

Equipment sales in the U.S. and Canada increased 17% over last year's sales, due to significant increases in the sale of commercial and consumer equipment and construction and forestry products. Agricultural equipment sales were up 8% for the quarter, mostly due to a strong European market. Sales in the U.S. and Canada declined as a result of economic uncertainties, regional drought and sign-up delays for aid under the U.S. farm bill.

Syngenta earnings up

Syngenta released a positive financial report from its Basel, Switzerland, headquarters. Although Syngenta's overall sales were down as a result of a weak ag market, product phaseouts and a competitive U.S. herbicide market, other factors, including tight financial control and successful new products, strengthened the company's balance sheet. Earnings were up 19% with a $2.61/share earning for 2002 compared with $2.20/share for 2001.

“Agricultural markets remain uncertain at the start of 2003,” reports Chief Executive Officer Michael Pragnell. “We will continue to maximize opportunities to improve business quality in both crop protection and seeds. At the same time, we are developing our new plant science business through the determined commercialization of biotechnology traits.”

CNH to close foundry

CNH Global will close its Racine, WI, foundry operations in May 2004. The company reports that its decision is part of its plan to streamline manufacturing operations and focus attention on core activities. CNH has tried to sell the 90-year-old facility but has found no takers.