UPDATE 1-AGCO says global footprint can help offset U.S. drought

Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:33pm EDT

* Q2 EPS $2.08 vs. Street forecast $1.80

* Revenue up 14 percent to $2.69 billion

* Raises forecast to range above Street

* Shares rose 4.1 percent to $42.67

July 26 (Reuters) - Farm equipment maker AGCO Corp on Thursday posted a stronger-than-expected quarter profit and raised its forecast, and executives said they are worried about the U.S. drought but confident their global portfolio will offset it.

Shares of the Duluth, Georgia-based company rose 4.1 percent to $42.67 in Thursday afternoon trading.

For the second quarter, the company posted net income of $204.9 million, or $2.08 per share, compared with $133.7 million, or $1.36 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts expected earnings of $1.80 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 14 percent to $2.69 billion. Analysts expected $2.81 billion.

The worst U.S. drought in more than 50 years is harming the corn crop and prompting concern about final yield numbers at harvest time this fall. If yields fall, that could crimp demand for the tractors and combines made by AGCO.

JPMorgan downgraded AGCO rival Deere & Co earlier this month, worried sales of tractors and combines could slide heading into 2013 as farmers conserve cash amid the U.S. drought.

Martin Richenhagen, AGCO's chief executive, said he expects U.S. corn yields to dip 20 percent this year due to the drought, but notes his company's large global reach - with most sales outside the United States - means results likely won't be affected.

"America is just a fraction of the current market," he said in an interview. "The world doesn't stand still just because of weather conditions which we are used to in farming."

The company raised its earnings outlook for 2012 to a range of $5.50 to $5.75 per share. It had previously forecast $5.50 per share. Analysts expect $5.49 per share for the year.

"A drought doesn't mean farmers don't invest in their business," Richenhagen said. "It's the only business they have."

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