Long-Term Commitment Pays Off
In 1954, John Deere became the first American company to acquire a German one when it bought the tractor pioneer Heinrich Lanz in Mannheim, where 3,000 employees continue to build mid-size tractors for the global market.
In 2017, the Illinois-based manufacturer of agricultural, construction and forestry equipment paid EUR 4.6 billion to purchase the Rhineland-Palatinate-based Wirtgen, which has 8,200 employees in five German plants and three foreign plants building road-construction equipment under the brand names Vögele, Hamm, Kleemann and Benninghoven.
So far, the investment has paid off even better than anticipated. Although John Deere only expected the investment to lead to profits of USD 25 million in the first year, Wirtgen actually contributed USD 3.2 billion in sales and $116 million in operating profit in just ten months to the bottom line of John Deere, which currently has almost 12,000 employees in Germany.