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John Deere Cash Management S.A.#s Proposed Euro-Denominated Senior Unsecured Notes Rated #A#

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NEW YORK--8 Sep--S&P Global Ratings

NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) Sept. 8, 2017--S&P Global Ratings today assigned its 'A' issue-level rating to Luxembourg-based John Deere Cash Management S.A.'s proposed senior unsecured notes. The notes will be guaranteed by the issuer's parent company, Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co. (Deere), and will rank equally with Deere's existing and future unsecured unsubordinated debt. We believe that the company will issue €850 million worth of notes in two tranches, likely consisting of a €350 million three-year tranche and a €500 million six-year tranche. The proposed debt will be issued by Deere's equipment operations, in line with the company's previously stated intention to issue up to $1 billion in equipment operations debt to fund its purchase of Germany-based road construction equipment manufacturer the Wirtgen Group. We expect the acquisition will close in the first fiscal quarter of 2018.

All of our ratings on Deere remain unchanged. We expect Deere will maintain its strong market position as the world's largest agricultural equipment manufacturer, with a No. 1 market share for large tractors and combines in North America and solid positions in Europe and Latin America. The company also is a large player in construction and forestry equipment (pro forma for the Wirtgen acquisition, this segment will comprise about 30% of the company's equipment operations sales); however, the unit is less profitable than its agriculture and turf segment. Deere enjoys several competitive advantages, including its strong brand, premium products, balanced global footprint in both mature and higher growth markets, an extensive dealer network, and financing capabilities (through its captive finance company, John Deere Financial). However, the company remains exposed to cyclical agricultural and construction markets.

The corporate credit rating on Deere is 'A'. The stable outlook reflects our expectation that modestly improving demand for the company's agricultural and construction products, as well as the additional EBITDA contribution from the Wirtgen acquisition, will allow the company to achieve a funds from operations (FFO)-to-debt ratio of about 40% in fiscal year 2018 despite the additional equipment operations debt to fund the Wirtgen purchase. Overall, we expect Deere's credit measures to remain in line with our expectations for the current rating over the cycle, including an FFO-to-debt ratio of as low as 30% during a cyclical downturn and well above 30% during periods of favorable end-market conditions.


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