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TABLE OF CONTENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements give our current expectations and projections relating to our financial condition, results of operations, plans, objectives, future performance and business. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those that we expected. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations, or cautionary statements, and other important information about forward-looking statements are disclosed under Item 1A, “Risk Factors” and Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations–Safe Harbor Statement” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Deere & Company (the Company) and its subsidiaries (collectively, John Deere) have operations that are categorized into three major business segments.
The agriculture and turf segment primarily manufactures and distributes a full line of agriculture and turf equipment and related service parts, including: large, medium, and utility tractors; tractor loaders; combines, cotton pickers, cotton strippers, and sugarcane harvesters; harvesting front-end equipment; sugarcane loaders and pull-behind scrapers; tillage, seeding and application equipment, including sprayers, nutrient management and soil preparation machinery; hay and forage equipment, including self-propelled forage harvesters and attachments, balers and mowers; turf and utility equipment, including riding lawn equipment and walk-behind mowers, golf course equipment, utility vehicles, and commercial mowing equipment, along with a broad line of associated implements; integrated agricultural management systems technology and solutions; and other outdoor power products.
The construction and forestry segment primarily manufactures and distributes a broad range of machines and service parts used in construction, earthmoving, road building, material handling and timber harvesting, including: backhoe loaders; crawler dozers and loaders; four-wheel-drive loaders; excavators; motor graders; articulated dump trucks; landscape loaders; skid-steer loaders; milling machines; recyclers; slipform pavers; surface miners; asphalt pavers; compactors; tandem and static rollers; mobile crushers and screens; mobile and stationary asphalt plants; log skidders; feller bunchers; log loaders; log forwarders; log harvesters and related logging attachments.
The products and services produced by the segments above are marketed primarily through independent retail dealer networks and major retail outlets.
The financial services segment primarily finances sales and leases by John Deere dealers of new and used agriculture and turf equipment and construction and forestry equipment. In addition, the financial services segment provides wholesale financing to dealers of the foregoing equipment, finances retail revolving charge accounts and offers extended equipment warranties.
John Deere’s worldwide agriculture and turf operations and construction and forestry operations are sometimes collectively referred to as the “equipment operations.” The financial services segment is sometimes referred to as the “financial services operations.”
Additional information is presented in the discussion of business segment and geographic area results on pages 23 – 24. The John Deere enterprise has manufactured agricultural machinery since 1837. The present Company was incorporated under the laws of Delaware in 1958.
The Company’s internet address is http://www.JohnDeere.com. Through that address, the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports are available free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (Securities and Exchange Commission or Commission). The information contained on the Company’s website is not included in, nor incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Market Conditions and Outlook
Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2020 is forecast to be in a range of $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion.
Agriculture & Turf. The Company’s worldwide sales of agriculture and turf equipment are forecast to be down about 5 to 10 percent for fiscal-year 2020, including price realization of 2 percent and a negative currency-translation effect of 1 percent. Industry sales of agricultural equipment in the U.S. and Canada are forecast to be down about 5 percent, driven by lower demand for large equipment. Full-year industry sales in the European Union (EU28) member nations are forecast to be about the same as are South American industry sales of tractors and combines. Asian sales are forecast to be about the same as 2019. Industry sales of turf and utility equipment in the U.S. and Canada are expected to be about the same for 2020.
Construction & Forestry. The Company’s worldwide sales of construction and forestry equipment are anticipated to be down about 10 to 15 percent for 2020, with price realization having a favorable effect of 1 percent and foreign-currency translation having an unfavorable effect of 1 percent. The outlook reflects slowing construction activity as well as the Company’s efforts to assist dealers to manage their inventory levels. In forestry, global industry sales are expected to be about the same as 2019.
Financial Services. Fiscal-year 2020 net income attributable to the Company for the financial services operations is expected to be approximately $600 million. Net income is expected to benefit from lower losses on lease residual values as well as income earned on a higher average portfolio. These items are forecast to be partially offset by a higher provision for credit losses, less-favorable financing spreads, and higher selling and administrative expenses.
2019 Consolidated Results Compared with 2018
For fiscal 2019, worldwide net income attributable to the Company was $3.253 billion, or $10.15 per share, compared with $2.368 billion, or $7.24 per share, in 2018. Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 5 percent to $39.258 billion in 2019, compared with $37.358 billion in 2018. Net sales of worldwide equipment operations increased in fiscal 2019 to $34.886 billion, compared with $33.351 billion last year. Wirtgen results are included for the full year while 2018 contained ten months of Wirtgen activity. The two additional months added about 1 percent to the Company’s 2019 net sales. Agriculture & Turf sales increased for 2019 due to price realization and higher shipment volumes, partially offset by the unfavorable effects of currency translation. Construction & Forestry sales were higher for 2019 primarily due to higher shipment volumes and price realization, partially offset by the unfavorable effects of currency translation. The inclusion of Wirtgen’s sales for two additional months in 2019 accounted for about 4 percent of Construction & Forestry’s net sales increase.
Worldwide equipment operations had an operating profit of $3.721 billion in fiscal 2019, compared with $3.684 billion in fiscal 2018. Operating profit for Agricultural & Turf decreased for 2019, largely due to higher productions costs, the unfavorable effects of currency exchange, increased research and development costs, higher selling, administrative, and general expenses, and a less-favorable sales mix, partially offset by price realization and higher shipment volumes. Wirtgen’s operating profit was $343 million for 2019, compared with $116 million for 2018. Excluding Wirtgen, Construction & Forestry’s operating profit was higher in 2019 primarily driven by price realization and higher shipment volumes, partially offset by higher production costs and a less-favorable sales mix.
Net income of the Company’s equipment operations was $2.698 billion for fiscal 2019, compared with $1.404 billion in fiscal 2018. Net income was favorably affected by discrete adjustments to the provision for income taxes of $65 million related to U.S. tax reform legislation (tax reform), while adjustments related to tax reform had an unfavorable impact of $1.045 billion for fiscal 2018.
The financial services operations reported net income attributable to the Company of $539 million for fiscal 2019 compared with $942 million in fiscal 2018. Excluding tax-reform adjustments, the decrease was mainly due to impairments and higher losses on operating-lease residual values and unfavorable financing spreads, partially offset by income earned on a higher average portfolio.
The cost of sales to net sales ratio for 2019 was 76.8 percent, compared with 76.7 percent for 2018. The cost of sales to net sales ratio increased compared to 2018 mainly due to higher production costs, the unfavorable effects of foreign currency exchange, and a less favorable product mix, partially offset by price realization.
Additional information on fiscal 2019 results is presented on pages 22 – 24.
Agriculture and Turf
The John Deere agriculture and turf segment manufactures and distributes a full line of agriculture and turf equipment and related service parts. The segment consolidates all markets into four geographical customer focus areas to facilitate deep customer understanding and deliver world-class customer service. The segment’s operations are consolidated into five product platforms — crop harvesting (combines, cotton pickers, cotton strippers, and sugarcane harvesters, related harvesting front-end equipment, sugarcane loaders and pull-behind scrapers); turf and utility (utility vehicles, riding lawn equipment, walk-behind mowers, commercial mowing equipment, golf course equipment, implements for mowing, tilling, snow and debris handling, aerating and many other residential, commercial, golf and sports turf care applications and other outdoor power products); hay and forage (self-propelled forage harvesters and attachments, balers and mowers); crop care (tillage, seeding and application equipment, including sprayers, nutrient management and soil preparation machinery); and tractors (loaders and large, medium and utility tractors and related attachments). John Deere also purchases certain products from other manufacturers for resale.
The segment also provides integrated precision agriculture technologies across its portfolio of large equipment. John Deere has developed a leading approach to precision agriculture technology through advanced communications and telematics, on board sensors and computers, and precise global navigation satellite systems technology to enable farmers to better control input costs and yields, improve soil conservation, minimize chemical use, and to gather information. John Deere’s advanced telematics systems remotely
connect agricultural equipment owners, business managers and dealers to agricultural equipment in the field, providing real-time alerts and information about equipment location, utilization, performance and maintenance to improve productivity and efficiency.
In addition to the John Deere brand, the agriculture and turf segment purchases and sells a variety of equipment attachments under the Frontier, Kemper and Green Systems brand names. The segment also manufactures and sells sprayers under the Hagie and Mazzotti brand names, planters and cultivators under the Monosem brand name, sprayers and planters under the PLA brand name, carbon fiber sprayer booms under the King Agro brand name, and walk-behind mowers and scarifiers in select European countries under the SABO brand name. John Deere manufactures its agriculture and turf equipment for sale primarily through independent retail dealer networks, and also builds turf products for sale by mass retailers, including The Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Sales of agricultural equipment are affected by total farm cash receipts, which reflect levels of farm commodity prices, acreage planted, crop yields and government policies, including global trade policies and the amount and timing of government payments. Sales are also influenced by general economic conditions, farm land prices, farmers’ debt levels and access to financing, interest and exchange rates, agricultural trends, including the production of and demand for renewable fuels, labor availability and costs, energy costs, tax policies and other input costs associated with farming. Other important factors affecting new agricultural equipment sales are the value and level of used equipment, including tractors, harvesting equipment, self-propelled sprayers, hay and forage equipment and seeding equipment. Weather and climatic conditions can also affect buying decisions of agricultural equipment purchasers.
Innovations in machinery and technology also influence agricultural equipment purchasing. For example, larger, more productive equipment is well accepted where farmers are striving for more efficiency in their operations. Large, cost-efficient, highly-mechanized agricultural operations account for an important share of worldwide farm output. The large-size agricultural equipment used on such farms has been particularly important to John Deere. A large proportion of the equipment operations’ total agricultural equipment sales in the U.S. and Canada, and a significant proportion of sales in many countries outside the U.S. and Canada, are comprised of tractors over 100 horsepower, self-propelled combines, self-propelled cotton pickers, self-propelled forage harvesters, self-propelled sprayers and seeding equipment. However, small tractors are an increasingly important part of our global tractor business. Further, John Deere offers a number of harvesting solutions to support development of the mechanized harvesting of grain, oilseeds, cotton, sugar and biomass.
Retail sales of lawn and garden tractors, compact utility tractors, residential and commercial mowers, utility vehicles, and golf and turf equipment are influenced by weather conditions, consumer spending patterns and general economic conditions.
Seasonality. Seasonal patterns in retail demand for agricultural equipment result in substantial variations in the volume and mix of products sold to retail customers during the year. Seasonal demand must be estimated in advance, and equipment must be manufactured in anticipation of such demand in order to achieve efficient utilization of manpower and facilities throughout the year. For certain equipment, John Deere offers early order discounts to retail customers. Production schedules are based, in part, on these early order programs. The segment incurs substantial seasonal variation in cash flows to finance production and inventory of agricultural equipment. The segment also incurs costs to finance sales to dealers in advance of seasonal demand. New combine and cotton harvesting equipment has been sold under early order programs with waivers of retail finance charges available to customers who take delivery of machines during off-season periods. In Australia, Canada, and the U.S., there are typically several used equipment trade-in transactions as part of most new agricultural equipment sales. To provide support to its dealers for these used equipment trade-ins, John Deere provides dealers in these countries with pools of funds, awarded to dealers as a percentage of the dealer cost for eligible new equipment sales. Dealers can use these funds to defray the costs of carrying or marketing used equipment inventory or to provide financing incentives to customers purchasing the used equipment.
Retail demand for turf and utility equipment is normally higher in the second and third fiscal quarters. John Deere has pursued a strategy of building and shipping such equipment as close to retail demand as possible. Consequently, to increase asset turnover and reduce the average level of field inventories through the year, production and shipment schedules of these product lines are normally proportionately higher in the second and third fiscal quarters of each year, corresponding closely to the seasonal pattern of retail sales.
Construction and Forestry
John Deere’s construction and forestry equipment includes a broad range of backhoe loaders, crawler dozers and loaders, four-wheel-drive loaders, excavators, motor graders, articulated dump trucks, landscape loaders, skid-steer loaders, milling machines, pavers, compactors, rollers, crushers, screens, asphalt plants, log skidders, log feller bunchers, log loaders, log forwarders, log harvesters, and a variety of attachments. John Deere provides a broad line of construction equipment and the most complete line of forestry machines and attachments available in the world. John Deere also manufactures and distributes road building equipment through its wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Wirtgen Group. The construction and forestry machines are distributed under the John Deere brand name, except for the Wirtgen Group products, which are manufactured and distributed under six brand names: Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm,
Kleeman, Benninghoven, and Ciber. Forestry attachments are distributed under the John Deere and Waratah brand names. In addition to the equipment manufactured by the construction and forestry segment, John Deere purchases certain products from other manufacturers for resale. The segment also provides comprehensive fleet management telematics solutions designed to improve customer productivity and efficiency through access to fleet location, utilization, and maintenance information.
The prevailing levels of residential, commercial and public construction, and the condition of the forestry products industry influence retail sales of John Deere construction, earthmoving, road building, material handling, and forestry equipment. General economic conditions, the level of interest rates, the availability of credit and certain commodity prices, such as those applicable to pulp, paper and saw logs also influence sales.
John Deere licenses Bell Equipment Limited (Bell) to manufacture and sell certain John Deere-designed construction equipment in specified territories of Africa. Bell is also the distributor of certain John Deere-manufactured construction equipment under the Bell brand and forestry equipment under the John Deere brand in certain territories of Africa.
John Deere and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. (Hitachi) have a joint venture for the manufacture of hydraulic excavators and tracked forestry equipment in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil. John Deere distributes Hitachi brands of construction and mining equipment in North, Central, and South America.
The segment has a number of initiatives in the rent-to-rent, or short-term rental, market for construction, earthmoving, road building, and material handling equipment. These include specially designed rental programs for John Deere dealers and expanded cooperation with major, national equipment rental companies.
John Deere also owns Nortrax, Inc., an authorized John Deere dealer for construction, earthmoving, material handling and forestry equipment in the U.S. John Deere also owns retail forestry sales operations in Australia, Brazil, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In addition, in many markets worldwide (most significantly in the European Union, India and Australia), the Wirtgen Group sells its products primarily through company-owned sales and service subsidiaries.
The equipment operations sell products and services into a variety of highly competitive global and regional markets. The principal competitive factors in all markets include product performance, innovation and quality, distribution, customer service and price. In North America and many other parts of the world, John Deere’s brand recognition is a competitive factor.
The competitive environment for the agriculture and turf segment includes some global competitors, including AGCO Corporation, CLAAS KGaA mbH, CNH Global N.V., Kubota Tractor Corporation, Mahindra, and The Toro Company and many regional and local competitors. These competitors have varying numbers of product lines competing with the segment’s products and each has varying degrees of regional focus. Additional competition within the agricultural equipment industry has come from a variety of short-line and specialty manufacturers, as well as indigenous regional competitors, with differing manufacturing and marketing methods. Because of industry conditions, including the merger of certain large integrated competitors and the emergence and expanding global capability of many competitors, particularly in emerging and high potential markets such as Brazil, China, and India where John Deere seeks to increase market share, the agricultural equipment business continues to undergo significant change and is becoming even more competitive. The segment’s turf equipment is sold primarily in the highly competitive North American and Western European markets.
Global competitors of the construction and forestry segment include Caterpillar Inc., CNH Global N.V., Doosan Infracore Co., Ltd. and its subsidiary Doosan Bobcat Inc., Fayat Group, Komatsu Ltd., Kubota Tractor Corporation, Ponsse Plc, Terex, Tigercat Industries Inc., Volvo Construction Equipment (part of Volvo Group AB) and XCMG. The construction business operates in highly competitive markets in North and South America and other global markets, including China and Russia. The forestry and road building businesses operate globally. The segment manufactures over 90 percent of the types of construction equipment used in the U.S. and Canada, including construction, forestry, earthmoving, road building, and material handling equipment.
Manufacturing Plants. In the U.S. and Canada, the equipment operations own and operate 21 factory locations and lease and operate another two locations. Of these 23 factories, 13 are devoted primarily to agriculture and turf equipment, four to construction and forestry equipment, one to engines, two to engine and component remanufacturing, two to hydraulic and power train components, and one to electronic components. Outside the U.S. and Canada, the equipment operations own or lease and operate 47 factories, including: agriculture and turf equipment factories in Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, and Spain; construction equipment factories in Brazil, China, and Germany; engine, engine/power train, hydraulic, or electronic component factories in Argentina, China, France, India, and Mexico; road building equipment factories in Brazil, China, Germany, and India; and forestry equipment factories in Finland and New Zealand. The engine factories referred to above manufacture non-road, heavy duty diesel engines.
The equipment operations also have financial interests in other manufacturing organizations, which include agricultural equipment manufacturers in the U.S., Bell in South Africa, the Hitachi joint venture that builds hydraulic excavators and tracked forestry equipment in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil, and ventures that manufacture transaxles and transmissions used in certain agriculture and turf segment products.
John Deere’s facilities are well maintained, in good operating condition and suitable for their present purposes. These facilities, together with both short-term and long-term planned capital expenditures, are expected to meet John Deere’s manufacturing needs in the foreseeable future.
Existing capacity is sufficient to satisfy John Deere’s current expectations for retail market demand. The equipment operations’ manufacturing strategy involves the implementation of appropriate levels of technology and automation to allow manufacturing processes to remain profitable at varying production levels. Operations are also designed to be flexible enough to accommodate the product design changes required to meet market conditions and changing customer requirements. Common manufacturing facilities and techniques are employed in the production of components for agriculture and turf equipment and construction and forestry equipment.
In order to utilize manufacturing facilities and technology more effectively, the equipment operations pursue continuous improvements in manufacturing processes. These include steps to streamline manufacturing processes and enhance responsiveness to customers. John Deere’s flexible assembly lines can accommodate a wider product mix and deliver products in line with dealer and customer demand. Additionally, considerable effort is being directed to manufacturing cost reduction through process improvement and improvements in product design, advanced manufacturing technology, supply management and logistics, and environment, health, and safety management systems, as well as compensation incentives related to productivity and organizational structure. John Deere has experienced volatility in the price of many raw materials. John Deere has responded to cost pressures by implementing the cost-reduction measures described above and by increasing prices. Significant cost increases, if they occur, could have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results. The equipment operations also pursue external sales of selected parts and components that can be manufactured and supplied to third parties on a competitive basis, including engines, power train components, and electronic components.
Patents, Trademarks, and Trade Secrets
John Deere owns a significant number of patents, trade secrets, licenses, and trademarks related to John Deere products and services, and expects the number to grow as John Deere continues to pursue technological innovations. John Deere’s policy is to further its competitive position by filing patent applications in the U.S. and internationally to protect technology and improvements considered important to the business. John Deere believes that, in the aggregate, the rights under these patents and licenses are generally important to its operations and competitive position, but does not regard any of its businesses as being dependent upon any single patent or group of patents. However, certain John Deere trademarks, which contribute to John Deere’s identity and the recognition of its products and services, including but not limited to the “John Deere” mark, the leaping deer logo, the “Nothing Runs Like a Deere” slogan, the prefix “JD” associated with many products, and the green and yellow equipment colors, are an integral part of John Deere’s business, and their loss could have a material adverse effect on the Company. For additional information see Risk Factor–The potential loss of John Deere intellectual property through trade secret theft, infringement of patents, trademark counterfeiting, or other loss of rights to exclusive use of John Deere intellectual property may have a material adverse effect on the Company. Infringement of the intellectual property rights of others by Deere may also have a material adverse effect on the Company.
In the U.S. and Canada, the equipment operations distribute equipment and service parts through the following facilities: two agriculture and turf equipment sales and administration offices located in Olathe, Kansas and Cary, North Carolina and one sales branch located in Grimsby, Ontario; one construction, earthmoving, material handling, and forestry equipment sales and administration office located in Moline, Illinois; and one road building equipment sales, service, and administration office located in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, the equipment operations operate a centralized parts distribution warehouse in coordination with nine regional parts depots and distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada.
Through these U.S. and Canadian facilities, John Deere markets products to approximately 1,977 dealer locations, most of which are independently owned and operated. Of these, approximately 1,541 sell agricultural equipment, while approximately 436 sell construction, earthmoving, material handling and/or forestry equipment. Nortrax owns some of the 436 dealer locations. Turf equipment is sold at most John Deere agricultural equipment locations, a few construction, earthmoving, material handling, and forestry equipment locations and about 375 turf-only locations, many of which also sell dissimilar lines of non-John Deere products. In addition, certain lawn and garden product lines are sold through The Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Outside the U.S. and Canada, John Deere agriculture and turf equipment is sold to distributors and dealers for resale in over 100 countries. Sales and administrative offices are located in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom and administrative offices located in Ghana and Kenya. Turf equipment sales outside the U.S. and Canada occur primarily in Europe and Australia. Construction, earthmoving, material handling, and forestry equipment is sold to distributors and dealers primarily by sales offices located in Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, and the United States. Some of these dealers are independently owned while John Deere owns others. Road building equipment is sold both directly to end customers as well as to independent distributors and dealers for resale. The Wirtgen Group operates company-owned sales and service subsidiaries in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
The equipment operations operate centralized parts distribution warehouses in Brazil, Germany, India, and Russia in coordination with regional parts depots and distribution centers in Argentina, Australia, China, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
John Deere markets engines, power train, and electronic components worldwide through select sales branches or directly to regional and global original equipment manufacturers and independently owned engine distributors.
John Deere purchases raw materials and some manufactured components and replacement parts for its equipment, engines, and other products from leading suppliers both domestically and internationally. These materials and components include a variety of steel products, steel and iron castings, forgings, plastics, electronics, and ready-to-assemble components made to certain specifications. John Deere also purchases various goods and services used in production, logistics, offices, and research and development processes. John Deere maintains strategic sourcing models to meet its production needs and build upon long-term supplier relationships. John Deere uses a variety of agreements with suppliers intended to drive innovation, ensure availability and delivery of industry-leading quality raw materials and components, manage costs on a globally competitive basis, protect John Deere’s intellectual property, and minimize other supply-related risks. Supply chain risks monitored by John Deere to minimize the likelihood of the supply base causing business disruption include supplier financial viability, capacity, business continuity, quality, delivery and weather-related events, including natural disasters. In fiscal 2019, no significant work stoppages occurred due to shortages of raw materials or other commodities.
The dollar amount of backlog orders for the agriculture and turf segment believed to be firm was approximately $5.5 billion at November 3, 2019, compared with $6.5 billion at October 28, 2018. The agriculture and turf backlog is generally highest in the second and third quarters due to seasonal buying trends in these industries. By the end of fiscal 2019, John Deere produced and shipped its construction and forestry equipment on average within approximately 90 days after an order was deemed to become firm. Therefore, there was no significant amount of backlog orders for the construction and forestry segment at November 3, 2019, compared with approximately $3.0 billion at October 28, 2018.
Trade Accounts and Notes Receivable
Trade accounts and notes receivable arise primarily from sales of goods to independent dealers. Most trade receivables originated by the equipment operations are purchased by the financial services operations. The equipment operations compensate the financial services operations at approximate market rates of interest for these receivables. Additional information appears in Note 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
U.S. and Canada. The financial services segment primarily provides and administers financing for retail purchases from John Deere dealers of new equipment manufactured by John Deere’s agriculture and turf and construction and forestry segments and used equipment taken in trade for this equipment.
The Company and John Deere Construction & Forestry Company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company) are referred to as the “sales companies.” John Deere Capital Corporation (Capital Corporation), a U.S. financial services subsidiary, generally purchases retail installment sales and loan contracts (retail notes) from the sales companies. These retail notes are acquired by the sales companies through John Deere retail dealers in the U.S. John Deere Financial Inc., a Canadian financial services subsidiary, purchases and finances retail notes acquired by John Deere Canada ULC, the Company’s Canadian sales branch. The terms of retail notes and the basis on which the financial services operations acquire retail notes from the sales companies are governed by agreements with the sales companies. The financial services segment also finances and services revolving charge accounts, in most cases acquired from and
offered through merchants in the agriculture and turf and construction and forestry markets (revolving charge accounts). Additionally, the financial services operations provide wholesale financing for inventories of John Deere agriculture and turf equipment and construction and forestry equipment owned by dealers of those products (wholesale notes). The various financing options offered by the financial services operations are designed to enhance sales of John Deere products and generate financing income for the financial services operations. In the U.S. and Canada, certain subsidiaries included in the financial services segment offer extended equipment warranties.
Retail notes acquired by the sales companies are immediately sold to the financial services operations. The equipment operations are the financial services operations’ major source of business, but many retail purchasers of John Deere products finance their purchases outside the John Deere organization through a variety of sources, including commercial banks and finance and leasing companies.
The financial services operations offer retail leases to equipment users in the U.S. A small number of leases are executed with units of local government. Leases are usually written for periods of four months to seventy-two months, and typically contain an option permitting the customer to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease term. Retail leases are also offered in a generally similar manner to customers in Canada through John Deere Financial Inc. and John Deere Canada ULC.
The financial services operations’ terms for financing equipment retail sales (other than smaller items financed with unsecured revolving charge accounts) generally provide for retention of a security interest in the equipment financed. The financial services operations’ guidelines for minimum down payments, which vary with the types of equipment and repayment provisions, are generally 10 percent to 30 percent of the purchase price. Finance charges are sometimes waived for specified periods or reduced on certain John Deere products sold or leased in advance of the season of use or in other sales promotions. The financial services operations generally receive compensation from the sales companies at approximate market interest rates for periods during which finance charges are waived or reduced on the retail notes or leases. The cost is accounted for as a deduction in arriving at net sales by the equipment operations.
The Company has an agreement with Capital Corporation to make payments to Capital Corporation such that its ratio of earnings to fixed charges is not less than 1.05 to 1 for any fiscal quarter. For fiscal 2019 and 2018, Capital Corporation’s ratios were 1.51 to 1 and 1.78 to 1, respectively, and never less than 1.36 to 1 and 1.69 to 1 for any fiscal quarter of 2019 and 2018, respectively. The Company has also committed to continue to own, directly or through one or more wholly-owned subsidiaries, at least 51 percent of the voting shares of capital stock of Capital Corporation and to maintain Capital Corporation’s consolidated tangible net worth at not less than $50 million. The Company’s obligations to make payments to Capital Corporation under the agreement are independent of whether Capital Corporation is in default on its indebtedness, obligations or other liabilities. Further, the Company’s obligations under the agreement are not measured by the amount of Capital Corporation’s indebtedness, obligations, or other liabilities. The Company’s obligations to make payments under this agreement are expressly stated not to be a guaranty of any specific indebtedness, obligation or liability of Capital Corporation and are enforceable only by or in the name of Capital Corporation. No payments were required under this agreement in fiscal 2019 or 2018.
Outside the U.S. and Canada. The financial services operations also offer financing, primarily for John Deere products, in Australia, Brazil, China, India, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, and in several other countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. In certain areas, financing is offered through cooperation agreements or joint ventures. The manner in which the financial services operations offer financing in these countries is affected by a variety of country-specific laws, regulations, and customs, including those governing property rights and debtor obligations, that are subject to change and that may introduce greater risk to the financial services operations.
The financial services operations also offer to select customers and dealers credit enhanced international export financing for the purchase of John Deere products.
Additional information on the financial services operations appears on pages 22 – 24, and 28.
John Deere is subject to a wide variety of local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations in the U.S., as well as the environmental laws and regulations of other countries in which John Deere conducts business. John Deere strives to comply with applicable laws and regulations. However, failure to comply with these regulations could lead to fines and other penalties. John Deere is involved in the evaluation and clean-up of a limited number of sites but does not expect that these matters or other expenses or liabilities John Deere may incur in connection with any noncompliance with environmental laws or regulations or the cleanup of any additional properties, will have a material adverse effect on the consolidated financial position, results of operations, cash flows or competitive position of John Deere. With respect to acquired properties and businesses or properties and businesses acquired in the future, John Deere conducts due diligence into potential exposure to environmental liabilities, but cannot be certain that it has
identified or will identify all adverse environmental conditions. Compliance with these laws and regulations has added, and will continue to add, to the cost of John Deere’s products.
The European Union has issued its Stage V Regulation, parts of which were effective in 2019 and will become effective in 2020, for non-road diesel engines across various power categories for machines used in construction, agriculture, materials handling, industrial use and generator applications. These standards continue the reduction of particulate and NOx emissions. Governmental agencies throughout the world are similarly enacting more stringent laws to reduce off-road engine emissions. John Deere has achieved and plans to continue to achieve compliance with these regulations through significant investments in the development of new engine technologies and after-treatment systems. Compliance with emissions regulations has added and will continue to add to the cost of John Deere’s products.
Governments are also implementing laws regulating products across their life cycle, including raw material sourcing and the storage, distribution, sale, use, and disposal of products at their end-of-life. These laws and regulations include green chemistry, right-to-know, restriction of hazardous substances, and product take-back laws.
At November 3, 2019, John Deere had approximately 73,500 employees, including approximately 30,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada. John Deere also retains consultants, independent contractors, and temporary and part-time workers. Unions are certified as bargaining agents for approximately 84 percent of John Deere’s U.S. production and maintenance employees. Approximately 9,300 of John Deere’s active U.S. production and maintenance workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW), with an expiration date of October 1, 2021. A small number of U.S. production employees are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
Unions also represent the majority of employees at John Deere manufacturing facilities outside the U.S.
INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
Following are the names and ages of the executive officers of the Company, their positions with the Company and summaries of their backgrounds and business experience. All executive officers are elected or appointed by the Board of Directors and hold office until the annual meeting of the Board of Directors following the annual meeting of stockholders in each year.
Name, age and office (at December 1, 2019), and year elected to office
Principal occupation during last
Samuel R. Allen
2010 – 2019 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
John C. May
Chief Executive Officer and President
2019 President and Chief Operating Officer, 2018 – 2019 President, Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division, Global Harvesting and Turf Platforms, Ag Solutions Americas and Australia, 2012 – 2018 President, Agricultural Solutions & Chief Information Officer
Ryan D. Campbell
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
2018 Deputy Financial Officer, 2017 Vice President and Comptroller, 2016 Deputy Comptroller, 2014 – 2015 Director of Finance, Agricultural Division Regions 1 & 2 and Global Tractors
James M. Field
President, Worldwide Construction & Forestry and Power Systems
2018 – 2019 President, Worldwide Construction & Forestry Division, 2012 – 2018 President, Agriculture & Turf Division-Global Harvesting & Turf Platforms, Americas and Australia
Marc A. Howze
Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
2012 – 2016 Vice President, Global Human Resources & Employee Communications
Mary K.W. Jones
Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Public Affairs
2013 – 2019 Senior Vice President and General Counsel
President, John Deere Financial, and Chief Information Officer
2018 – 2019 Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer, 2012 – 2018 Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Cory J. Reed
President, Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division, Americas and Australia, Global Harvesting and Turf Platforms, Agricultural Solutions
2016 – 2019 President, John Deere Financial, 2013 – 2016 Senior Vice President, Intelligent Solutions Group
Markwart von Pentz
President, Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division Tractor and Hay & Forage, Regions 1 & 2, and Advanced Engineering
2018 – 2019 President, Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division Global Tractor and Hay & Forage Platforms, Europe, CIS, Asia, Africa, 2012 – 2018 President, Agriculture & Turf Division-Europe, Asia, Africa, and Global Tractor Platform
The following risks are considered the most significant to John Deere’s business based upon current knowledge, information and assumptions. This discussion of risk factors should be considered closely in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis beginning on page 22, including the risks and uncertainties described in the Safe Harbor Statement on pages 24 – 26, and the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements beginning on page 38. These risk factors and other forward-looking statements that relate to future events, expectations, trends and operating periods involve certain factors that are subject to change, and important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Some of these risks and uncertainties could affect particular lines of
business, while others could affect all of the Company’s businesses. Although each risk is discussed separately, many are interrelated. The Company, except as required by law, undertakes no obligation to update or revise this risk factors discussion, whether as a result of new developments or otherwise. The risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the “Safe Harbor Statement” in this report are not the only risks faced by the Company.
International, national and regional trade laws, regulations and policies (particularly those related to or restricting global trade) and government farm programs and policies could significantly impair John Deere’s profitability and growth prospects.
International, national and regional laws, regulations and policies directly or indirectly related to or restricting the import and export of John Deere’s products, services and technology, including protectionist policies in particular jurisdictions or for the benefit of favored industries or sectors, could harm John Deere’s multinational business and subject John Deere to civil and criminal sanctions for violations. John Deere’s profitability and growth prospects are tied directly to the global marketplace. Restricted access to global markets impairs John Deere’s ability to export goods and services from its various manufacturing locations around the world, and limits the ability to access raw materials and high quality parts and components at competitive prices on a timely basis. Trade restrictions, including withdrawal from or modification of existing trade agreements, the failure to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, negotiation of new trade agreements, and imposition of new (and retaliatory) tariffs against certain countries or covering certain products, including developments in U.S.-China trade relations, could limit John Deere’s ability to capitalize on current and future growth opportunities in international markets and impair John Deere’s ability to expand the business by offering new technologies, products and services. These trade restrictions, and changes in–or uncertainty surrounding–global trade policies may affect John Deere’s competitive position. Furthermore, the ability to export agricultural and forestry commodities is critical to John Deere’s agricultural and forestry customers. Policies impacting exchange rates and commodity prices or those limiting the export or import of commodities could have a material adverse effect on the international flow of agricultural and other commodities that may result in a corresponding negative effect on the demand for agricultural and forestry equipment in many areas of the world. John Deere’s agricultural equipment sales could be especially harmed by such policies because farm income strongly influences sales of agricultural equipment around the world. Furthermore, trade restrictions could impede those in developing countries from achieving a higher standard of living, which could negatively impact John Deere’s future growth opportunities arising from increasing global demand for food, fuel and infrastructure. Additionally, changes in government farm programs and policies, including direct payment and other subsidies, can significantly influence demand for agricultural equipment. Furthermore, sanctions and export controls imposed by the U.S. and other governments restricting or prohibiting transactions with certain persons, including financial institutions, to certain countries, or involving certain products expose John Deere to potential criminal and civil sanctions. Embargoes and sanctions laws are changing rapidly for certain geographies, including with respect to Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Turkey. Although John Deere has a compliance program in place designed to reduce the likelihood of potential violations of import and export laws and sanctions, violations of these laws or sanctions could have an adverse effect on John Deere’s reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
Changes in government banking, monetary and fiscal policies could have a negative effect on John Deere.
Policies of the U.S. and other governments regarding banking, monetary and fiscal policies intended to promote or maintain liquidity, stabilize financial markets and/or address local deficit or structural economic issues may not be effective and could have a material impact on John Deere’s customers and markets. John Deere’s operations and results could also be impacted by financial regulatory reform that could have an adverse effect on the financial services segment and on John Deere’s customers by limiting their ability to enter into hedging transactions or to finance purchases of John Deere products. Government policies on spending can also affect John Deere, especially the construction and forestry segment due to the impact of government spending on infrastructure development. John Deere’s operations, including those outside of the United States, may also be affected by non-U.S. regulatory reforms being implemented to further regulate non-U.S. financial institutions and markets.
Changes in tax rates, tax legislation, or exposure to additional tax liabilities could have a negative effect on John Deere.
John Deere is subject to income taxes in the U.S. and numerous foreign jurisdictions. The Company’s domestic and international tax liabilities are dependent upon the location of earnings among these different jurisdictions. Tax rates in various jurisdictions may be subject to significant change. John Deere’s effective tax rates could be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in tax laws or their interpretation. If the Company’s effective tax rates were to increase, or if the ultimate determination of our taxes owed is for an amount in excess of amounts previously accrued, John Deere’s operating results, cash flows and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Changing worldwide demand for food and different forms of bio-energy could have an effect on the price of farm commodities and consequently the demand for certain John Deere equipment and could also result in higher research and development costs related to changing machine fuel requirements.
Changing worldwide demand for farm outputs to meet the world’s growing food and bio-energy demands, driven in part by government policies and a growing world population, are likely to result in fluctuating agricultural commodity prices, which directly affect sales of agricultural equipment. Lower farm commodity prices directly affect farm incomes, which could negatively affect sales of agricultural equipment. While higher commodity prices benefit John Deere’s crop-producing agricultural equipment customers, higher commodity prices also could result in greater feed costs for livestock and poultry producers which in turn may result in lower levels of equipment purchased by these customers. Furthermore, changing bio-fuel demands may cause farmers to change the types or quantities of the crops they raise, with corresponding changes in equipment demands. Finally, changes in governmental policies regulating bio-fuel utilization could affect commodity demand and commodity prices, demand for John Deere’s diesel-fueled equipment, and result in higher research and development costs related to equipment fuel standards.
As John Deere seeks to expand its business globally, growth opportunities may be impacted by greater political, economic and social uncertainty and the continuing and accelerating globalization of businesses could significantly change the dynamics of John Deere’s competition, customer base and product offerings.
John Deere’s efforts to grow its businesses depend to a large extent upon access to additional geographic markets, including, but not limited to, Argentina, Brazil, China, India and Russia, and its success in developing market share and operating profitably in such markets. In some cases, these countries have greater political and economic volatility, greater vulnerability to infrastructure and labor disruptions and differing local customer product preferences and requirements than John Deere’s other markets. Negative market conditions resulting from economic and political uncertainties in these and other countries could reduce customer confidence, resulting in declines in demand and increases in delinquencies and default rates, which could affect write-offs and provisions for credit losses. Operating and seeking to expand business in a number of different regions and countries exposes John Deere to multiple and potentially conflicting cultural practices, business practices and legal and regulatory requirements that are subject to change, including those related to tariffs and trade barriers, investments, property ownership rights, taxation, sanctions and export control requirements, repatriation of earnings and advanced technologies. Expanding business operations globally also increases exposure to currency fluctuations which can materially affect the Company’s financial results. As these emerging geographic markets become more important to John Deere, its competitors are also seeking to expand their production capacities and sales in these same markets. While John Deere maintains a positive corporate image and its brands are widely recognized and valued in its traditional markets, the brands are less well known in some emerging markets which could impede John Deere’s efforts to successfully compete in these markets. Although John Deere is taking measures to adapt to these changing circumstances, John Deere’s reputation and/or business results could be negatively affected should these efforts prove unsuccessful.
John Deere operates in highly competitive markets.
John Deere operates in a variety of highly competitive global and regional markets. John Deere competes worldwide with a number of other manufacturers and distributors that produce and sell similar products. John Deere competes on the basis of product performance, innovation and quality, distribution, customer service and price. Aggressive pricing or other strategies pursued by competitors, unanticipated product or manufacturing delays or John Deere’s failure to price its products competitively could adversely affect John Deere’s business, results of operations and financial condition.
John Deere’s business results depend largely on its ability to understand its customers’ specific preferences and requirements, and to develop, manufacture and market products that meet customer demand.
John Deere’s ability to match new product offerings to diverse global customers’ anticipated preferences for different types and sizes of equipment and various equipment features and functionality, at affordable prices, is critical to its success. This requires a thorough understanding of John Deere’s existing and potential customers on a global basis, particularly in potentially high-growth and emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India and Russia. Failure to deliver quality products that meet customer needs at competitive prices ahead of competitors could have a significant adverse effect on John Deere’s business.
Negative economic conditions and outlook can materially weaken demand for John Deere’s equipment and services, limit access to funding and result in higher funding costs.
The demand for John Deere’s products and services can be significantly reduced in an economic environment characterized by high unemployment, cautious consumer spending, lower corporate earnings, U.S. budget issues and lower business investment. Negative or uncertain economic conditions causing John Deere’s customers to lack confidence in the general economic outlook can significantly reduce their likelihood of purchasing John Deere’s equipment. Sustained negative economic conditions and outlook affect housing starts and other construction which dampens demand for certain construction equipment. John Deere’s turf operations and its
construction and forestry business are dependent on construction activity and general economic conditions. Decreases in construction activity and housing starts could have a material adverse effect on John Deere’s results of operations. If negative economic conditions affect the overall farm economy, there could be a similar effect on John Deere’s agricultural equipment sales. In addition, uncertain or negative outlook with respect to ongoing U.S. budget issues as well as general economic conditions and outlook can cause significant changes in market liquidity conditions. Such changes could impact access to funding and associated funding costs, which could reduce the Company’s earnings and cash flows. Additionally, the Company’s investment management activities could be adversely affected by changes in the equity and bond markets, which would negatively affect earnings.
In addition, demand for John Deere’s products and services can be significantly reduced by concerns regarding the diverse economic and political circumstances of the individual countries in the eurozone, the debt burden of certain eurozone countries and their ability to meet future financial obligations, uncertainty related to the anticipated withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the risk that one or more other European Union countries could come under increasing pressure to leave the European Union, or the long term stability of the euro as a single common currency. Persistent disparity with respect to the widely varying economic conditions within the individual countries in the eurozone, and its implications for the euro as well as market perceptions concerning these and related issues, could adversely affect the value of the Company’s euro-denominated assets and obligations, have an adverse effect on demand for John Deere’s products and services in the eurozone and have an adverse effect on financial markets in Europe and globally. More specifically, it could affect the ability of John Deere’s customers, suppliers and lenders to finance their respective businesses, to access liquidity at acceptable financing costs, if at all, and the availability of supplies and materials and on the demand for John Deere’s products.
The Company’s consolidated financial results are reported in U.S. dollars while certain assets and other reported items are denominated in the currencies of other countries, creating currency exchange and translation risk.
John Deere operates in many areas of the world, involving transactions denominated in a variety of currencies. John Deere is subject to currency exchange risk to the extent that its costs are denominated in currencies other than those in which John Deere earns revenues.
Additionally, the reporting currency for the Company’s consolidated financial statements is the U.S. dollar. Certain of John Deere’s assets, liabilities, expenses and revenues are denominated in other countries’ currencies. Those assets, liabilities, expenses and revenues are translated into U.S. dollars at the applicable exchange rates to prepare the Company’s consolidated financial statements. Therefore, increases or decreases in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and those other currencies affect the value of those items as reflected in the Company’s consolidated financial statements, even if their value remains unchanged in their original currency. Substantial fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar could have a significant impact on John Deere’s results.
Because the financial services segment provides financing for a significant portion of John Deere’s sales worldwide, John Deere’s operations and financial results could be impacted materially should negative economic conditions affect the financial industry.
Negative economic conditions can have an adverse effect on the financial industry in which the financial services segment operates. The financial services segment provides financing for a significant portion of John Deere’s sales worldwide. The financial services segment is exposed to the risk that customers and others will default on contractual obligations. The financial services segment may experience credit losses that exceed its expectations and adversely affect its financial condition and results of operations. The financial services segment’s inability to access funds at cost-effective rates to support its financing activities could have a material adverse effect on John Deere’s business. The financial services segment’s liquidity and ongoing profitability depend largely on timely access to capital in order to meet future cash flow requirements and to fund operations and costs associated with engaging in diversified funding activities. Additionally, negative market conditions could reduce customer confidence levels, resulting in declines in credit applications and increases in delinquencies and default rates, which could materially impact the financial services segment’s write-offs and provision for credit losses. The financial services segment may also experience residual value losses that exceed its expectations caused by lower pricing for used equipment and higher than expected equipment returns at lease maturity.
John Deere’s equipment operations and financial services segments are subject to interest rate risks. Changes in interest rates can reduce demand for equipment, adversely affect interest margins and limit the ability to access capital markets while increasing borrowing costs.
Rising interest rates could have a dampening effect on overall economic activity and/or the financial condition of John Deere’s customers, either or both of which could negatively affect customer demand for John Deere equipment and customers’ ability to repay obligations to John Deere. In addition, credit market dislocations could have an impact on funding costs which are very important to John Deere’s financial services segment because such costs affect the segment’s ability to offer customers competitive financing rates. While the Company strives to match the interest rate characteristics of our financial assets and liabilities, changing interest rates could have an adverse effect on the Company’s net interest rate margin—the difference between the yield the Company earns on its assets and the interest rates the Company pays for funding, which could in turn affect the Company’s net interest income and
earnings. Actions by credit rating agencies, such as downgrades or negative changes to ratings outlooks, can affect the availability and cost of funding for the Company and can increase the Company’s cost of capital and hurt its competitive position.
The potential loss of John Deere intellectual property through trade secret theft, infringement of patents, trademark counterfeiting, or other loss of rights to exclusive use of John Deere intellectual property may have a material adverse effect on the Company. Infringement of the intellectual property rights of others by Deere may also have a material adverse effect on the Company.
John Deere relies on a combination of patents, trademarks, trade secret laws, and confidentiality agreements to protect our intellectual property rights. In particular, we heavily rely on certain John Deere trademarks, which contribute to John Deere’s identity and the recognition of its products and services, including but not limited to the “John Deere” mark, the leaping deer logo, the “Nothing Runs Like a Deere” slogan, the prefix “JD” associated with many products, and the green and yellow equipment colors. These trademarks, as well as the many patents used in our products, are integral to the John Deere business, and their loss could have a material adverse effect on the Company.
Additionally, third parties may initiate litigation to challenge the validity of our patents or allege that we infringe their patents. We may incur substantial costs if our competitors or other third parties initiate such litigation, or if we initiate any proceedings to protect our proprietary rights. If the outcome of any such litigation is unfavorable to us, our business could be adversely affected. Similarly, disputes may arise regarding whether our products or technologies infringe the proprietary rights of others. Any such infringement could cause third parties, including our competitors, to bring claims against us, resulting in significant costs, possible damages and substantial uncertainty.
John Deere is subject to extensive anti-corruption laws and regulations.
John Deere’s global operations must comply with all applicable anti-corruption laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act. These anti-corruption laws generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments or providing anything of value to improperly influence government officials or private individuals for the purpose of obtaining or retaining a business advantage regardless of whether those practices are legal or culturally expected in a particular jurisdiction. Although John Deere has a compliance program in place designed to reduce the likelihood of potential violations of such laws, violations of these laws could result in criminal or civil sanctions and have an adverse effect on John Deere’s reputation, business and results of operations and financial condition.
John Deere’s business may be directly and indirectly affected by unfavorable weather conditions or natural calamities that reduce agricultural production and demand for agriculture and turf equipment.
Poor or unusual weather conditions, particularly during the planting and early growing season, can significantly affect the purchasing decisions of John Deere’s customers, particularly the purchasers of agriculture and turf equipment. The timing and quantity of rainfall are two of the most important factors in agricultural production. Insufficient levels of rain prevent farmers from planting new crops and may cause growing crops to die or result in lower yields. Excessive rain or flooding can prevent planting from occurring at optimal times, and may cause crop loss through increased disease or mold growth. Temperatures outside normal ranges can also cause crop failure or decreased yields, and may also affect disease incidence. Temperature affects the rate of growth, crop maturity and crop quality. Natural calamities such as regional floods, hurricanes or other storms, droughts, diseases and pests can have significant negative effects on agricultural and livestock production. The resulting negative impact on farm income can strongly affect demand for agricultural equipment. Sales of turf equipment, particularly during the important spring selling season, can be dramatically impacted by weather. Adverse weather conditions in a particular geographic region may adversely affect sales of some turf equipment. Drought conditions can adversely affect sales of certain mowing equipment and unusually rainy weather can similarly cause lower sales volumes.
Changes in the availability and price of certain raw materials, components and whole goods could result in production disruptions or increased costs and lower profits on sales of John Deere products.
John Deere requires access to various raw materials, components and whole goods at competitive prices to manufacture and distribute its products. Changes in the availability and price of these raw materials, components and whole goods, which have fluctuated significantly in the past and are more likely to fluctuate during times of economic volatility, regulatory instability or change in import tariffs or trade agreements, can significantly increase the costs of production which could have a material negative effect on the profitability of the business, particularly if John Deere, due to pricing considerations or other factors, is unable to recover the increased costs from its customers. John Deere relies on suppliers to acquire raw materials, components and whole goods required to manufacture its products. Certain components and parts used in John Deere’s products are available from a single supplier and cannot be alternatively sourced quickly. Supply chain disruptions due to supplier financial distress, capacity constraints, trade barriers, labor shortages, business continuity, quality, delivery issues or disruptions due to weather-related or natural disaster events could affect John Deere’s operations and profitability.
John Deere’s operations, suppliers and customers are subject to and affected by increasingly rigorous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations of federal, state and local authorities in the U.S. and various regulatory authorities with jurisdiction over John Deere’s international operations. In addition, private civil litigation on these subjects has increased, primarily in the U.S.
Enforcement actions arising from violations of environmental, health and safety laws or regulations can lead to investigation and defense costs, and result in significant fines or penalties. In addition, new or more stringent requirements of governmental authorities could prevent or restrict John Deere’s operations, or those of our suppliers and customers, require significant expenditures to achieve compliance and/or give rise to civil or criminal liability. There can be no assurance that violations of such legislation and/or regulations, or private civil claims for damages to property or personal injury arising from the environmental, health or safety impacts of John Deere’s operations, or those of our suppliers and customers, would not have consequences that result in a material adverse effect on John Deere’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
Increasingly stringent engine emission regulations could impact John Deere’s ability to manufacture and distribute certain engines or equipment, which could negatively affect business results.
John Deere’s equipment operations must meet increasingly stringent engine emission reduction regulations throughout the world, including the European Union’s Stage V standard. In addition, governmental agencies throughout the world are enacting more stringent laws and regulations to reduce off-road engine emissions. These laws and regulations are applicable to engines manufactured by John Deere, including those used in John Deere agriculture and construction and forestry equipment. John Deere has incurred and continues to incur substantial research and development costs related to the implementation of these more rigorous laws and regulations. While John Deere has developed and is executing comprehensive plans to meet these requirements, these plans are subject to many variables that could delay or otherwise affect John Deere’s ability to manufacture and distribute certain equipment or engines, which could negatively impact business results.
John Deere may incur increased costs due to new or more stringent greenhouse gas emission standards designed to address climate change and could be further impacted by physical effects attributed to climate change on its facilities, suppliers and customers.
There is global scientific consensus that emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) continue to alter the composition of Earth’s atmosphere in ways that are affecting and are expected to continue to affect the global climate. These considerations may lead to international, national, regional or local legislative or regulatory responses in the future. Various stakeholders, including legislators and regulators, shareholders and non-governmental organizations, as well as companies in many business sectors, including John Deere, are continuing to look for ways to reduce GHG emissions. The regulation of GHG emissions from certain stationary or mobile sources could result in additional costs to John Deere in the form of taxes or emission allowances, facilities improvements and energy costs, which would increase John Deere’s operating costs through higher utility, transportation and materials costs. Increased input costs, such as fuel and fertilizer, and compliance-related costs could also impact customer operations and demand for John Deere equipment. Because the impact of any future GHG legislative, regulatory or product standard requirements on John Deere’s global businesses and products is dependent on the timing and design of mandates or standards, John Deere is unable to predict its potential impact at this time.
Furthermore, the potential physical impacts of climate change on John Deere’s facilities, suppliers and customers and therefore on John Deere’s operations are highly uncertain and will be particular to the circumstances developing in various geographical regions. These may include long-term changes in temperature levels and water availability. These potential physical effects may adversely impact the demand for John Deere’s products and the cost, production, sales and financial performance of John Deere’s operations.
Security breaches and other disruptions to John Deere’s information technology infrastructure could interfere with John Deere’s operations and could compromise John Deere’s and its customers’ and suppliers’ information, exposing John Deere to liability that would cause John Deere’s business and reputation to suffer.
In the ordinary course of business, John Deere relies upon information technology networks and systems, some of which are managed by third parties, to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business processes and activities, including supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, invoicing and collection of payments from dealers or other purchasers of John Deere equipment and from customers of John Deere’s financial services operations. John Deere uses information technology systems to record, process and summarize financial information and results of operations for internal reporting purposes and to comply with regulatory financial reporting, legal and tax requirements. Additionally, John Deere collects and stores sensitive data, including intellectual property, proprietary business information and the proprietary business information of John Deere’s customers and suppliers, as well as personally identifiable information of John Deere’s customers and employees, in data centers and on information technology networks. The secure operation of these information technology networks and the processing and maintenance of this information is critical to John Deere’s business operations and strategy. Despite security measures and business continuity plans, John Deere’s information technology networks and infrastructure may be vulnerable to damage, disruptions or shutdowns due to attacks by cyber criminals or breaches due to employee or supplier error or malfeasance or other disruptions during
the process of upgrading or replacing computer software or hardware, power outages, computer viruses, telecommunication or utility failures, terrorist acts, natural disasters or other catastrophic events. The occurrence of any of these events could compromise John Deere’s networks, and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability or regulatory penalties under laws protecting the privacy of personal information, disrupt operations, and damage John Deere’s reputation, which could adversely affect John Deere’s business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, as security threats continue to evolve and increase in frequency and sophistication, we may need to invest additional resources to protect the security of our systems.
John Deere is subject to governmental laws, regulations and other legal obligations related to privacy and data protection.
The legislative and regulatory framework for privacy and data protection issues worldwide is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. John Deere collects personally identifiable information (PII) and other data as integral parts of its business processes and activities. This data is subject to a variety of U.S. and foreign laws and regulations, including oversight by various regulatory or other governmental bodies. Many foreign countries and governmental bodies, including the European Union, Canada, and other relevant jurisdictions where we conduct business, have laws and regulations concerning the collection and use of PII and other data obtained from their residents or by businesses operating within their jurisdictions. The European Union General Data Protection Regulation imposes stringent data protection requirements and provides significant penalties for noncompliance. New privacy laws will continue to come into effect around the world in 2020, with one of the most significant being the California Consumer Privacy Act on January 1, 2020. Any inability, or perceived inability, to adequately address privacy and data protection concerns, even if unfounded, or comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, industry standards, contractual obligations, or other legal obligations (including at newly acquired companies) could result in additional cost and liability to us or company officials, damage our reputation, inhibit sales, and otherwise adversely affect our business.
John Deere’s ability to execute its strategy is dependent upon the ability to attract, train and retain qualified personnel.
John Deere’s continued success depends, in part, on its ability to identify, attract, motivate, train and retain qualified personnel in key functions. In particular, John Deere is dependent on its ability to identify, attract, motivate, train and retain qualified personnel with the requisite education, background and industry experience. Failure to attract, train and retain qualified personnel, whether as a result of an insufficient number of qualified applicants, difficulty in recruiting new personnel, or the allocation of inadequate resources to training, integration and retention of qualified personnel, could impair John Deere’s ability to execute its business strategy and could adversely affect John Deere’s business. In addition, while John Deere strives to reduce the impact of the departure of employees, John Deere’s operations or ability to execute its business strategy may be impacted by the loss of personnel.
Sustained increases in funding obligations under the Company’s pension plans may impair the Company’s liquidity or financial condition.
The Company maintains certain defined benefit pension plans for certain employees, which impose funding obligations. The Company uses many assumptions in calculating its future payment obligations under the plans. Significant adverse changes in credit or market conditions could result in actual rates of returns on pension investments being lower than expected. The Company may be required to make significant contributions to its pension plans in the future. These factors could significantly increase the Company’s payment obligations under the plans and adversely affect its business, results of operations and financial condition.
Changes affecting the availability of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) may have consequences for John Deere that cannot yet reasonably be predicted.
The Company has outstanding debt, derivative and receivable transactions with variable interest rates based on LIBOR. The LIBOR benchmark has been subject of national, international, and other regulatory guidance and proposals for reform. In July 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit rates for calculation of LIBOR after 2021. These reforms may cause LIBOR to perform differently than in the past and LIBOR may ultimately cease to exist after 2021. Alternative benchmark rate(s) may replace LIBOR and could affect the Company's debt securities, derivative instruments, receivables, debt payments and receipts. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of any changes to LIBOR, any phase out of LIBOR or any establishment of alternative benchmark rates. Any new benchmark rate will likely not replicate LIBOR exactly, which could impact our contracts which terminate after 2021. There is uncertainty about how applicable law, the courts or the Company will address the replacement of LIBOR with alternative rates on variable rate retail loan contracts and other contracts that do not include alternative rate fallback provisions. In addition, any changes to benchmark rates may have an uncertain impact on our cost of funds and our access to the capital markets, which could impact our results of operations and cash flows. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes may also adversely affect the trading market for our securities.
John Deere may not realize all of the anticipated benefits of our acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures, or these benefits may take longer to realize than expected.
From time to time, the Company makes strategic acquisitions and divestitures or participates in joint ventures. Acquisitions or joint ventures that the Company has entered into, or may enter into in the future, may involve significant challenges and risks, including that the acquisitions or joint ventures do not advance our business strategy, or fail to produce satisfactory returns on our investment. The Company may encounter difficulties in integrating acquisitions with its operations, in applying internal control processes to these acquisitions, in managing strategic investments, and in assimilating new capabilities to meet the future needs of the Company’s business. Integrating acquisitions is often costly and may require significant attention from management. Furthermore, John Deere may not realize all of the anticipated benefits of acquisitions or joint ventures, or the realized benefits may be significantly delayed. While our evaluation of any potential transaction includes business, legal, and financial due diligence with the goal of identifying and evaluating the material risks involved, our due diligence reviews may not identify all of the issues necessary to accurately estimate the cost and potential risks of a particular acquisition or joint venture, including potential exposure to regulatory sanctions resulting from an acquisition target’s or joint venture partner’s previous activities or costs associated with any quality issues with an acquisition target's or joint venture’s products or services. We may decide to divest ourselves of acquired businesses if we determine any such divestiture is in the best interests of our shareholders, and our joint ventures may be terminated at or before their stated terms. Divestitures of businesses or dissolutions of joint ventures may involve significant challenges and risks, including failure to advance our business strategy, costs or disruptions to the Company, or negative effects on the Company’s product offerings, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. These divestitures of businesses or dissolutions of joint ventures may result in ongoing financial or legal involvement in the divested business, through indemnifications or other financial arrangements, such as retained liabilities, which could affect the Company’s future financial results.
The reallocation of radio frequency (RF) spectrums could disrupt or degrade the reliability of John Deere’s high precision augmented Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, which could impair John Deere’s ability to develop and market GPS-based technology solutions as well as significantly reduce agricultural and construction customers’ profitability.
John Deere’s current and planned integrated agricultural business and equipment management systems, as well as its fleet management telematics solutions for construction equipment, depend upon the use of RF signals. These signals include, but are not limited to, GPS signals, other GPS-like satellite signals, augmented GPS services and other RF equipment which link equipment, operations, owners, dealers and technicians. These radio services depend on frequency allocations governed by international and national agencies. Any international or national reallocation of frequency bands, including frequency bands segmentation and band spectrum sharing, or other modifications concerning the regulation of frequency bands, could significantly disrupt or degrade the utility and reliability of John Deere’s GPS-based products, which could negatively affect John Deere’s ability to develop and market GPS-based technology solutions. For John Deere’s agricultural customers, the inability to use high-precision augmented GPS signals or other RF signals could result in lower crop yields and higher equipment maintenance, seed, fertilizer, fuel and wage costs. For construction customers, disrupting GPS or RF applications could result in higher fuel and equipment maintenance costs, as well as lower construction design and project management efficiencies. These cost increases could significantly reduce customers’ profitability and demand for John Deere products.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
See “Manufacturing” in Item 1.
The equipment operations own or lease eleven facilities comprised of two locations supporting centralized parts distribution and nine regional parts depots and distribution centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Outside the U.S. and Canada, the equipment operations also own or lease and occupy 14 centralized parts distribution centers in Brazil, Germany, India and Russia and regional parts depots and distribution centers in Argentina, Australia, China, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom. John Deere also owns and leases 16 facilities for the manufacture and distribution of other brands of replacement parts.
The Company owns and leases 37 administrative offices and research facilities globally and many other smaller, miscellaneous facilities globally.
Overall, John Deere owns approximately 67.5 million square feet of facilities and leases approximately 10.3 million additional square feet in various locations.
The Company is subject to various unresolved legal actions which arise in the normal course of its business, the most prevalent of which relate to product liability (including asbestos-related liability), retail credit, employment, patent, and trademark matters. Item 103 of Regulation S-K requires disclosure of certain environmental matters when a governmental authority is a party to the proceedings and the proceedings involve potential monetary sanctions that the Company reasonably believes could exceed $100,000. The following matter is disclosed solely pursuant to that requirement: on October 3, 2018, the Provincia Santa Fe Ministerio de Medio Ambiente issued a Notice of Violation to Industrias John Deere Argentina in connection with alleged groundwater contamination at the site; the Company continues to work with the appropriate authorities to implement corrective actions to remediate the site. The Company believes the reasonably possible range of losses for this and other unresolved legal actions would not have a material effect on its financial statements.
MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
|(a)||The Company’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “DE”. See the information concerning the number of stockholders and the data on dividends declared and paid per share in Notes 30 and 31 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.|
|(c)||The Company’s purchases of its common stock during the fourth quarter of 2019 were as follows:|
ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Total Number of
Number of Shares
that May Yet Be
Total Number of
as Part of Publicly
the Plans or
or Programs (1)
Jul 29 to Aug 25
Aug 26 to Sept 29
Sept 30 to Nov 3
|(1)||During the fourth quarter of 2019, the Company had a share repurchase plan that was announced in December 2013 to purchase up to $8,000 million of shares of the Company’s common stock. The maximum number of shares above that may yet be purchased under the $8,000 million plan was based on the end of the fourth quarter closing share price of $176.11 per share. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, $1,075 million of common stock remains to be purchased under this plan.|
|(2)||In the fourth quarter of 2019, approximately 1 thousand shares were purchased from plan participants to pay payroll taxes on certain restricted stock awards. The shares were valued at a weighted-average market price of $158.70.|
|(3)||In December 2019, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $8,000 million of additional common stock. This additional repurchase amount may be repurchased after November 3, 2019 and is not included in the amounts above (see Note 31).|
SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
(Millions of dollars except per share amounts)
For the Years Ended:
Total net sales and revenues
Net income attributable to Deere & Company
Net income per share — basic
Net income per share — diluted
Dividends declared per share
At Year End:
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
See the information under the caption “Management’s Discussion and Analysis” on pages 22 – 32.
QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.
The Company is exposed to a variety of market risks, including interest rates and currency exchange rates. The Company attempts to actively manage these risks. See the information under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis” beginning on page 22 and in Note 28 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.
See the Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto and supplementary data on pages 33 – 75.
CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.
CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES.
Disclosure Controls and Procedures
The Company’s principal executive officer and its principal financial officer have concluded that the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act)) were effective as of November 3, 2019, based on the evaluation of these controls and procedures required by Rule 13a-15(b) or 15d-15(b) of the Exchange Act.
Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
The Company’s management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. The Company’s internal control system was designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the preparation and fair presentation of published financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
All internal control systems, no matter how well designed, have inherent limitations. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
Management assessed the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of November 3, 2019, using the criteria set forth in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. Based on that assessment, management believes that, as of November 3, 2019, the Company’s internal control over financial reporting was effective.
The Company’s independent registered public accounting firm has issued an audit report on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. That report is included herein.
Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
During the fourth quarter, there were no changes that have materially affected or are reasonably likely to materially affect the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.
DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE.
The information regarding directors required by Item 401(a) of Regulation S-K in the definitive proxy statement for the annual meeting of stockholders to be held on February 26, 2020 (proxy statement), under the captions "Item 1 — Election of Directors" is incorporated herein by reference. The information in the proxy statement required by Items 407(d)(4) and 407(d)(5) of Regulation S-K under the caption “Corporate Governance — Board Committees — Audit Review Committee” is incorporated herein by reference. Information regarding executive officers is presented in Item 1 of this report under the caption "Information about our Executive Officers."
The Company has adopted a code of ethics that applies to its executives, including its principal executive officer, principal financial officer and principal accounting officer. This code of ethics and the Company's corporate governance policies are posted on the Company's website at http://www.JohnDeere.com/Governance. The Company intends to satisfy disclosure requirements regarding amendments to or waivers from its code of ethics by posting such information on this website. The charters of the Audit Review, Corporate Governance, Compensation and Finance committees of the Company's Board of Directors are available on the Company's website as well. This information is also available in print free of charge to any person who requests it.