April 27, 2010 / 8:43 AM / 9 years ago

John Deere opens Russian plant, sees potential

DOMODEDOVO, Russia, April 27 (Reuters) - Deere & Co (DE.N), the world’s largest farm equipment maker, opened a manufacturing and parts distribution plant near Moscow on Tuesday, saying it was prepared to increase investment in the country.

The plant — Deere’s single largest investment in Russia — will make farm equipment including large tractors and combine harvesters as well as other equipment for use in construction and forestry.

“We are prepared to significantly expand our investment and operations here consistent with economic and market conditions,” Deere Chairman and Chief Executive Samuel Allen said at the opening ceremony.

Deere said last July it had planned to invest over $500 million in new Russia projects. [ID:nL6414230]

“Most of the world’s available arable land is already being farmed, clean water is becoming increasingly scarce and infrastructure is needed in many parts of the world to bring crops and forestry materials to market,” Allen said.

“Russia has great advantages in all these areas and the potential to become one of the world’s major food-producing areas, or bread baskets.”

Russia has nearly 9 percent of the world’s arable land, 20 percent of forestry and 8 percent of fresh water, Allen said.

The new plant will supply customers in Russia, the CIS and other nearby markets.

“Our plans are to work closely with our Russian customers and dealers and with the Russian government to help your country realise its aspirations to greater food security and food exports,” Allen said.

Deere made its first major sale in Russia 100 years ago, supplying 900 ploughs to the Pacific city of Vladivostok.

Reporting by Robin Paxton; editing by Dmitry Sergeyev and Sue Thomas

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