AGCO ransomware attack disrupts US tractor sales during planting season

May 6 (Reuters) – U.S. agricultural equipment maker AGCO Corp (AGCO.N) said on Friday a ransomware attack was affecting operations at some of its production facilities, and dealers said tractor sales had been blocked during the crucial planting season.

Georgia-based AGCO said in a statement that it expects operations at some facilities to be affected for “several days and potentially longer.”

The ransomware attack comes at a time when US farm equipment makers were already facing ongoing supply chain disruptions and labor strikes that prevented them from meeting farmers’ demand for equipment. Read more

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AGCO did not release the names of the facilities or whether any data was stolen, but said it was still investigating the extent of the attack that occurred on Thursday and was working to fix its systems.

Tim Brannon, president and owner of B&G Equipment Inc in Tennessee, told Reuters he had been unable to access AGCO’s website to order and search for parts since Thursday morning.

“We just have to believe this will be over as soon as possible because we are entering our busiest time of the year and this will be very detrimental to our business and our customers,” Brannon said.

AGCO, which competes with arch-rival Deere & Co (DE.N), sells tractors and combines, manufactures and assembles products at 42 locations worldwide with 1,810 dealerships in North America.

Dealers are now struggling to keep up with orders that were already on hold.

The company told dealers it was “prioritizing” the most business-critical systems in an email read to Reuters by a dealer who declined to be identified.

“I have about nine orders I need to place right now,” the dealership said.

He said AGCO told him that “digital systems” had been affected around the world.

AGCO did not respond to requests for additional comment.

AGCO shares were down 6% at $125.55 by late afternoon trading.

Ransomware attacks have targeted food and oil companies in the United States in recent years, including the Colonial Pipeline oil network and meat processing company JBS (JBSS3.SA). Last fall, at least three grain handlers in the Midwest were hit by ransomware attacks. Read more

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Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru, Bianca Flowers and PJ Huffstutter in Chicago; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Shounak Dasgupta and Marguerita Choy

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