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Deere announces changes to business, 200 job cuts


Deere & Co. announced today that it will combine its worldwide agricultural equipment division and its commercial and consumer equipment division into one unit to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

The changes, effective May 1, will cause a pre-tax charge of approximately $25 million. Deere also said it plans to eliminate 200 salaried positions through voluntary separations by September.

“Products and functions will be formally realigned to make us more responsive to customer needs and market conditions, and allow us to work smarter, more effectively, in all that we do,” CEO Robert Lane said in a release.

David Everitt and Markwart von Pentz will become presidents of the new agriculture and turf division, overseeing different product lines and regions in the world. James Field, current president of the commercial and consumer equipment division, will continue to report to Lane in a new role as senior vice president of Deere, with a focus on finding additional efficiencies and opportunities for the company.

Deere also said it will cut back from six U.S. sales branch offices to two centers based in Lenexa, Kan., and Cary, N.C.

The announcement comes after the Association of Equipment Manufacturers announced that farm equipment sales dropped in March, with row crop tractor sales down 7 percent and four-wheel-drives down 14 percent. However, sales of combines were up 39 percent from the year-ago period.

Analyst Robert McCarthy of Robert W. Baird & Co. said that March is a “seasonally important” month for agricultural equipment manufactures and that “risk to manufacturers’ productions schedules appears to be growing.” His comments sent Deere’s shares down 1 percent in afternoon trading yesterday.

Deere’s announcement today does not affect the company’s construction and forestry division or John Deere Credit.

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