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Deere & Co. reports strong first quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co., maker of John Deere tractors, outdoor power equipment and lawn mowers, announced worldwide net income of $369.1 million, or $0.83 per share, for the first quarter ended Jan. 31. This is an increase of 54.6 percent from $238.7 million, or $0.52 per share, for the same period last year.

Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 18 percent to $5.201 billion for the quarter from $4.425 billion a year ago.

Net sales of the equipment operations were $4.531 billion for the period, up 18.8 percent from $3.815 billion last year.

According to Robert W. Lane, chairman and CEO of Deere, favorable conditions throughout the global farm sector and a positive customer response to the company’s product lineup continue to drive results.

“Advanced product offerings … are supporting the company’s financial performance and helping expand our global market presence,” Lane said. “Deere’s non-agricultural operations remain on a profitable course in spite of weakening economic conditions in the United States.”

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Wal-Mart launches solar pilot program

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores announced it has completed the first stage in its pilot program to use solar power in its retail stores.

The company has already converted the Chino, Calif., Sam’s Club, one of seven California stores the company will convert for the pilot program.

“Wal-Mart is moving forward with its commitment to conserve energy, reduce energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions, and this project is a step in the right direction,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vp-energy at Wal-Mart.

Once installed, Wal-Mart said it hopes solar power systems will provide approximately 30 percent of the power to its stores.

“Installing the solar power systems will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8,000 to 10,000 metric tonnes a year,” said David Ozment, director of energy at Wal-Mart.

The company said 15 locations in Hawaii will also be included in the program.

Wal-Mart described the project as a major step toward its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy.

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Pope & Talbot to sell sawmills

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Portland, Ore.-based Pope & Talbot announced that it has agreed to sell its Fort St. James and Midway sawmills.

The company said it will sell the Fort St. James sawmill to the Sinar Mas Group for $6 million and the Midway sawmill to Fox Lumber Sales for $750,000.

The sales are subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Canadian Court, as well as customary regulatory approvals in Canada and the United States. The company said it expects to receive such approvals and close the transactions in the second quarter of 2008.

Sinar Mas Group is a global enterprise with significant interests in pulp and paper in Indonesia, China and elsewhere. Sinar Mas is the largest producer of pulp and paper in Asia and is one of the top five in the world. Pope & Talbot sold three Canadian-based pulp sawmills to the Sinar Mas Group last month.

Fox Lumber Sales is a full service lumber manufacturing business headquartered in Hamilton, Mont.

Pope & Talbot was founded in 1849 and produces market pulp and softwood lumber at mills in the United States and Canada.

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