Deere & Co
The company also provided a relatively subdued first glimpse of 2010, saying it expected farmers in North America and Europe to remain cautious because of the unsettled economic situation, sending its shares down 3.4 percent in premarket trading.
Deere said it was anticipating a huge jump in pension costs next year, which analysts believe could shave 60 cents off its earnings.
The Moline, Illinois-based company reported a net loss of $222.8 million, or 53 cents a share, for the fourth quarter that ended on October 31, compared with a year-earlier profit of $345 million, or 81 cents a share.
Stripping out one-time items, including a goodwill impairment related to its turf unit and employee severance costs, the company said it would have reported a profit of 23 cents a share.
Sales fell 28 percent to $5.33 billion.
Deere also provided a preliminary forecast for 2010 results, saying it expected to report full-year net income of about $900 million, compared with $873.5 million, or $2.06 per share, this year.
But any sales gains will have to come later in the year because Deere warned first-quarter sales could be down 10 percent from 2009 levels.
It said it expected farmers in North America and Europe to be cautious in their purchasing decisions as a result of sluggish overall economic conditions and near-term profitability issues in the livestock and dairy sectors.
The one bright spot is South America, where Deere said it expected industry sales would increase 10 percent to 15 percent in 2010.
During the just-finished quarter, Deere said worldwide equipment sales operations fell 30 percent. It said its in-house finance unit reported a net loss of $15.3 million, in part, because of higher provision for credit losses.
(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)