Deere CEO says company has 'continued to face cost pressures for raw materials'
"John Deere has concluded another solid year in which the company benefited from a further improvement in market conditions and a favorable customer response to its lineup of advanced products," said Samuel Allen, chairman and CEO. "In the fourth quarter, farm machinery sales in the Americas made further gains while construction-equipment sales continued to move higher, helped in part by our Wirtgen road-building business, whose financial contribution has exceeded our original forecasts. At the same time, the company has continued to face cost pressures for raw materials such as steel, which are being addressed through pricing actions and ongoing cost management." Added Allen, "The company's strong performance has allowed for significant investment in new products, services, and technologies. In addition, the company in 2018 returned almost $1.8 billion to shareholders in higher dividends and the repurchase of over $900 million of stock. These steps reflect the strength of the company and our optimism about its future prospects."