(Bloomberg) -- Deere & Co. plans to halt production at its six plants in Brazil in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus and protect employees and families, the machinery giant said Tuesday.
Two facilities will be suspended on Wednesday for an undetermined period while four other units will stop Monday. The company’s distribution center for Latin America will continue to provide support to farmers amid the soybean harvest as well as services to construction clients. Office employees will work remotely.
Both top tractor maker Deere and smaller rival AGCO Corp. pulled their financial outlooks on Monday, and both said they were cutting back operations. Dogged in the past year by trade war uncertainties and low crop prices that kept farmers from upgrading, machinery companies are now struggling to deal with the ambiguity surrounding a deadly pandemic, unable to say how long it will last or how economically damaging it may be.
Since the virus erupted in China, Deere has had a special crisis team of 10 people meeting daily on its impact, although everyone involved in global supply management is ultimately involved. Deere has also booked premium space on charter flights to obtain crucial parts directly from China.
In Brazil, a key market for global machinery makers, the coronavirus spread is leading to suspensions of agricultural fairs, worsening the outlook for sales.
Deere’s Brazilian operations are mainly in the southern half of the country, including centers that supply parts in Campinas, sugarcane harvesters and sprayers in Catalao and tractors in Montenegro, according to the company’s website.
(Adds detail on Brazilian operations)
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