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DEERE & CO $350 MILLION SENIOR SHELF DEBT RATED 'A' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Deere & Co.'s $350 million universal shelf registration is rated "A" for senior debt, "A-" for subordinated debt, and "BBB+" for preferred stock by Fitch. The universal filing also allows Deere to issue common stock or depository shares. The credit trend is stable.
 For the first six months of fiscal 1993, equipment company operating results were improved from the depressed 1992 six-month levels, but pretax results were worse, reflecting the inclusion of a $107.2 million pretax charge for the rationalization of the company's European operations. Excluding this charge, the company reported pretax income of $1.5 million versus a loss of $62.2 million in 1992's first six months. These improved results were due to the pickup in retail demand at the North American operations, primarily in the second quarter.
 Although the company's six-month results show signs of an economic recovery, Deere's near-term prospects remain uncertain given the unpredictable impact of the Midwest U.S. flooding on Deere's North American markets and the changing landscape in the European markets.
 Deere's results were depressed during the fiscal 1992 and 1991 periods, but its financial position remains strong. Although debt-to- capital was 51.3 percent at April 30, 1993, compared to 44.1 percent at year-end 1992 and 48.1 percent at April 30, 1992, if debt associated with the company's dealer receivables is excluded from the equipment company, it would be virtually debt free. These strong quality receivables could be levered by at least six times if isolated in a financial subsidiary.
 Deere & Co., based in Moline, Ill., manufactures and distributes farm equipment (66 percent of fiscal 1992 sales), industrial equipment (19 percent), and lawn and grounds care equipment (15 percent). It also finances this equipment and provides credit, insurance, and health care services.
 -0- 7/19/93
 /CONTACT: Donald H. Powell, 212-908-0570, or Valerie Gerard, 212-908-0577, both of Fitch/
 (DE)


CO: Deere & Co. ST: Illinois IN: MAC SU: RTG

TS -- NY079 -- 3185 07/19/93 15:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 19, 1993
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