Founded in 1837, Deere & Company (DE) is engaged in the production and distribution of agricultural and forestry equipment, construction equipment and engines, worldwide. A credit subsidiary, John Deere Capital Corporation, is one of the largest equipment finance companies in the United States with more than 2.4 million accounts.
DE is a Dividend Contender with a streak of 11 years of dividend increases. It pays quarterly dividends in February, May, August and November. The current dividend is 60¢ per share, so starting yield on cost is 2.78%. DE's 5-year dividend growth rate is 13.43%.
The stock has outperformed the S&P over the past 10 years by a healthy margin, as is evident in the graph below. It suffered from very heavy selling when the markets tumbled in 2008. The 5-year Beta of DE averages 1.26.
Analysis of DE
My fair value estimate of DE is $95.50, so this buy resulted in a discount to fair value of 9.71%. The following table provides some key statistics, with highlighted values relating directly to my selection criteria.
The only criterium that DE does not meet is having a Debt/Equity ratio of less than 0.50. For DE, the ratio is rather high at 3.40.
Based on these statistics, DE earns 6 out of a possible 7 stars: (*******)
Other ratings for DE
DE is the top candidate in the Industrials sector on my August dashboard of dividend growth candidates. It is my 4th Industrials sector holding and the 34rd holding overall.
DE's long term future looks bright given the rising global population and the need for increased yields and farm productivity. In the near term, though, farmer sentiments towards capital purchases could limit DE's earnings. In February this year, the U.S. Congress passed a new bill that replaces direct subsidy payments with an insurance-based system, providing farmers with a safety net only if prices fall too far. The impact of this change could lead to a reduction of equipment purchases in the near term.
DE expects worldwide sales of construction and forestry equipment to increase by about 10% in 2014. Furthermore, DE is increasing its manufacturing footprint overseas in markets like Brazil and India. Especially in Brazil, the construction equipment market is expanding rapidly as the country continues to grow as an exporter of agricultural commodities.
DE has an impressive record of share repurchases. Over the last decade, the number of outstanding shares has declined by 127 million. Last December, DE announced an expansion of the current repurchase program by $8B. With its dividend growth rate of 16% over the last 5 years, I think DE is an excellent addition to DivGro.
30 shares of DE adds $72 of expected dividend income, increasing DivGro's projected annual dividend income to $4,651.06.
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