* Agco may top earnings outlook-CEO
* Says cash-rich farmers likely to invest in equipment
By Kyle Peterson and Michael Hirtzer
CHICAGO, April 14 Farm equipment maker Agco
Corp (AGCO.N) may top its own first-quarter earnings outlook
when it reports the results later this month, the company's
chief executive said on Thursday.
"I think everything is pretty much in line," Agco Chief
Executive Martin Richenhagen told reporters in Chicago.
"I would be astonished if we only made the guidance," he
The company is due to report earnings on April 26 and has
forecast a profit of 25 cents to 30 cents per share.
Agco is the world's third-largest maker of tractors and
combines and sells its equipment under the Massey Ferguson,
Fendt, Valtra and Agco brand names, among others. Based in
Duluth, Georgia, the company traces its roots to the
Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co.
Richenhagen declined to give an updated forecast for sales,
citing the quiet period ahead of earnings. But he said soaring
commodity prices and good farm incomes would stimulate sales of
equipment used to gather crops.
"The overall market environment is good," he said.
"Commodity prices are rather high, which means farm income is
rather good. And that means, of course, that farmers have the
means of investment."
Corn futures Cc1 climbed to a record $7.83-3/4 per bushel
on Monday, and farmers are expected to respond to the high
prices by planting the second-largest corn area since World War
Overall, plantings of the eight major U.S. crops are
expected to increase to 254.8 million acres this year, up 3.5
percent from last year and the most since 1998.
Richenhagen said an earthquake and tsunami in Japan last
month has not disrupted the company's operations as it did for
other manufacturers with suppliers there.
"For us, it's not material," he said.
"We lost, of course, customers. And customers lost
product," he said.
Shares of Agco closed up $1.03, or about 2 percent, at
$51.43 on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Kyle Peterson and Michael Hirtzer)