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DEERE & CO. (DE)--A U.S. leading producer of farm equipment used in construction, earthmoving and forestry and equipment for commercial and residential uses. The company is headquartered in Moline, Illinois. Deere is a Fortune 500 company. Deere stock is traded in New York Stock Exchange, Chicago, Frankfurt, and Germany stock exchanges. The firm has plants in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico, France, Spain, Holland Argentina, and South Africa. A subsidiary company produces John Deere machinery in Brazil and a joint venture, Deere-Hitachi, manufactures hydraulic excavators in the U.S. and Japan. Deere recently acquired Timberjack Group for $600.0 million cash in mid December 1999. The acquisition of the Timberjack Group strengthened Deere’s existing market position in the forestry equipment business by broadening its product line and adding European operations.

Deere continues to expand its dominance in the North American farm machinery business while consolidating its position in construction machinery through a 2001 pact with Hitachi Ltd. of Japan, the world's largest maker and seller of hydraulic excavators--a type of construction machine. Deere integrated its marketing operations in North, Central and South America with Hitachi. Earlier, Deere established an equally-owned  wheel loader venture in Japan with a unit of Hitachi.

Deere also plans to permanently discontinue manufacturing skid steer loaders at a site in Loudon, Tenn., during 2002, citing a continuing unprofitable use of production capacity in place.