CORONAVIRUS

Deere withdraws 2020 financial guidance amid coronavirus outbreak

Manufacturer cites COVID-19 challenges

Deere and Co. is continuing its operation in overseas markets #x201c;to the extent possible.#x201d; (The Gazette)
Deere and Co. is continuing its operation in overseas markets “to the extent possible.” (The Gazette)

There was cautious optimism in the manufacturing sector about a month ago when Deere and Co. beat analyst predictions on its first-quarter financials.

Now, Deere has removed its 2020 financial guidance, amid the growing COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, outbreak.

Deere disclosed the move in a federal Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday morning.

“The ultimate magnitude of COVID-19, including the extent of its impact on Deere and Co.’s financial and operational results, which could be material, will be determined by the length of time that the pandemic continues, its effect on the demand for the company’s products and services and the supply chain, as well as the effect of government regulations imposed in response to the pandemic,” Deere officials wrote in the filing.

Domestic operations continue after federal U.S. officials last week deemed Deere an essential critical infrastructure business, and Deere has implemented other actions, such as social distancing in the workplace and travel restrictions for employees.

The Moline, Ill.-based manufacturer also continues its operation in overseas markets “to the extent possible.”

“These operations, however, may be affected by issues such as remote working arrangements, adherence to social distancing guidelines, and other COVID-19-related challenges,” Deere wrote Monday morning.

“Presently certain of the company’s facilities are reducing operations and, in some cases, are temporarily shutting down operations due to the effect of the coronavirus.”

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Any reductions or temporary shutdowns are currently happening outside the United States, the filing said.

Deere temporarily closed its facilities in China for a time earlier this year due to the spread of COVID-19 there. Deere officials have worked with Chinese municipal officials to bring those facilities back online.

Due to these circumstances and the evolving situation, such as the supply chain, logistics and demand for Deere products, Deere withdrew its financial outlook for 2020.

Deere likely will update that outlook during its second-quarter earnings announcement and conference call slated for May 22.

Meanwhile, Deere recently launched a dedicated page on its website to COVID-19-related issues. One item asks John Deere Financial lease-financing customers with coronavirus-related financial hardships to call (800) 325-0130 or visit MyJohnDeere.com.

The site also says Deere will waive co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles for COVID-19 testing for employees.

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