This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(October 2013)
The Toro Company is an American manufacturer of turf maintenance equipment (lawn mowers), snow removal equipment (snow blowers) and water-saving irrigation systems for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential lawns, and agricultural fields. The company is based in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Founded as the Toro Motor Company in 1914 to build tractor engines for The Bull Tractor Company, Toro manufactures and sells turf and landscape maintenance equipment and precision irrigation systems for use by landscape contractors, golf course superintendents, sports fields and grounds managers, as well as individual consumers.
In 1986, Toro acquired the Wheel Horse Products Division of American Motors (AMC). Wheel Horse manufactured a wide range of lawn and garden tractors, as well as riding lawn mowers. The division was spun off from AMC so that the automaker could maintain focus on vehicles. Lawn and garden tractors were then marketed under the Toro, Wheel Horse, as well as the Toro Wheel Horse names. Acquisitions continued with the purchase of Lawn-Boy in 1989, James Hardie Irrigation in 1996, Exmark Manufacturing in 1997, Hayter Ltd. in 2005, Rain Master Irrigation Systems and Turf Guard Wireless Monitoring Technology in 2007, TyCrop Manufacturing Ltd. in 2009, and USPraxis, Inc. in 2010.
In the 1990s, then CEO Kendrick Melrose changed the company's strategy, shifting its focus to "professional maintenance markets" (such as golf courses, sports fields, municipal parks, and commercial properties). The strategy yielded higher margins and offered more protection from the uncertainty of weather and economic conditions than the highly competitive residential market segments. In 2007, almost 70 percent of the company's sales came from professional markets, versus one-third in 1990.
On Dec 5, 2001, Toro adopted new accounting rules the Emerging Issues Task Force had issued and restated the prior periods. The adoption of these rules had no effect on operating earnings or net income.