Sugarcane has Agco optimistic on 2013

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Farming equipment maker Agco Corp. expects its 2013 profit to be in a range mostly above Wall Street’s forecast, citing growing sales of tractors to harvest sugarcane in South America.

The company, which competes fiercely with rival Deere and Co., expects 2013 earnings per share of $5.50 to $5.75 per share (all figures US$).

Analysts on Wall Street have expected earnings of $5.56 per share for 2013, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Agco expects sales in South America to increase five per cent to 10 per cent next year, helped mostly by sales of tractors and combines to sugarcane harvesters.

"2013 will be another record year for Agco," CEO Martin Richenhagen said in an interview. "It will be our fourth record year in a row."

The company’s operating margins likely will increase to around nine per cent in 2013, up from eight per cent this year, he said.

The company expects sales to grow three per cent to five per cent in 2013 from 2012 levels.

Richenhagen, a German native who became a U.S. citizen in 2011, called for a compromise on the U.S. fiscal cliff negotiations mostly involving spending cuts.

"The most important part of the discussion has to be expenditures," he said. "We need a more simple taxation structure. The one now is very long." – Reuters