On the Call: Deere CFO Rajesh Kalathur

The Associated Press

Deere & Co. reported fourth-quarter results below analyst expectations on Wednesday, and gave a cautious outlook for 2013. Analysts noted that it plans $1.3 billion in capital spending next year for long-term investments such as factories and major equipment.

That spending level is about the same as for the year that ended Oct. 31, prompting analysts to wonder whether Deere is being especially cautious. One analyst asked about the "fiscal cliff" — the mix of federal spending cuts and tax increases set to start at the beginning of 2013 unless Congress and the President come to a budget deal.

Chief Financial Officer Rajesh Kalathur said Deere has made its capital spending plans with "caution based on the economic uncertainties."

He added, though, that Deere has "asked our units to delay as much of it as practical into January ... as the economics now become clearer, we may modify our plans. We will pull levers and cut down on investments if the scenario worsens, and we may accelerate our plans ... if the economic scenario turns positive."