UPDATE 1-Agco misses estimates, leaves forecast unchanged; shares fall

Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:19pm EDT

* Third-quarter revenue $2.48 bln vs est $2.53 bln

* Earnings $1.27/share vs est $1.28

* Expects global industry demand to be flat in 2013

* Expects moderate growth in North America; Europe to fall

* Shares fall as much as 8 pct

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Agco Corp's quarterly results missed Wall Street expectations for the first time this year and the company left its full-year forecast unchanged as weak sales of farm machinery in Europe offset strong sales in North and South America.

Shares of the maker of tractors, harvesters and other agricultural equipment fell as much as 8 percent after the company said it still expects global industry demand to be flat in 2013 from a year earlier.

Analysts said investors were expecting the company to continue its trend of beating analysts' estimates and boosting its forecast. The company raised its full-year forecast twice in 2013.

"Investors had preferred Agco to other farm equipment manufacturers due to perceived short-term earnings momentum benefit," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Andrew Casey wrote in a client note.

Agco has performed better than its rivals so far this year. While Deere & Co, the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment, warned in August that a cooler-than-normal spring in North America and low corn prices would hit sales, Agco gave no such indication.

However, economic uncertainty in Europe, coupled with a slowdown in demand from U.S. farmers, is threatening to weigh on Agco as corn prices continue to slide, pressured by a record corn crop this year.

Lower prices would mean a drop in total farm cash receipts. Farmers with less cash cannot spend as much on equipment, even if they have to harvest a lot of corn.

Agco, which sells its products under the Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Valtra and Agco brand names, said on Tuesday that while it expects strong growth in South America in 2013, growth in North America is expected to be modest.

"(Orders in North America) are down a little, but not substantially down," a company executive said on a post-earnings conference call.

Agco also said it expects softer demand in Western Europe, with weakness in the UK and central and eastern Europe.

The company - which traces its roots back to Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co, whose bright orange tractors were once a fixture of the rural American landscape - said it expects sales in the range of $10.8 billion to $11.0 billion in 2013.

Analysts on average were expecting sales of $10.89 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Duluth, Georgia-based Agco earned $1.27 per share in the third quarter, a cent below analysts' expectations. Sales rose 8 percent to $2.48 billion but missed the average analyst estimate of $2.53 billion.

The company's shares were down 7 percent at $58.64 at midday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Deere were down 1 percent.

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