Cat goes from strength to strength

By Thomas Allen26 January 2018


A promising rise in sales and revenues has been reported by US-based equipment manufacturer Caterpillar in its fourth quarter and full-year 2017 financial results.

Sales and revenues increased by 35% to US$12.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to $9.6 billion in the equivalent quarter of 2016. For the full year, sales and revenues were up about 18% on the previous year, totaling $45.5 billion in 2017, versus $38.5 billion in 2016.

Adjusted earnings per share – which excludes a number of factors such as the impact of a US tax reform and restructuring costs – stood at $2.16 in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to $0.83 in the fourth quarter of 2016. For the full year, adjusted earnings per share equalled $6.88, which was up on the $3.42 recorded for the previous year.

These strong results were attributed to improving end markets and the company’s continued focus on operational performance.

Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said, “After four challenging years, many key markets improved in 2017, and our global team delivered strong results. We remained focused on operational excellence and made early investments in profitable growth initiatives as we began to implement our new strategy.”

The positive momentum gathered in 2017 is expected to carry Caterpillar into a strong 2018, backed by strong order rates, lean dealer inventories and an increasing backlog.

With positive economic indicators seen around the world, many of the company’s end markets are predicted to continue expanding, and Caterpillar intends to make the most of this by implementing a new strategy focused on operational excellence and profitable growth.

Adjusted profit per share in 2018 is forecast to be between $8.25 and $9.25, excluding restructuring costs of about $400 million.

Umpleby said, “We are in the early stages of implementing our strategy for profitable growth. In 2018, we expect to make additional investments in the expanded offerings and services important for Caterpillar’s long-term success.”

Of construction industries, Caterpillar said it expected overall growth in 2018 with some tempering in the latter part of the year, largely due to anticipated seasonality of sales in China.

In North America, residential, non-residential and infrastructure are all expected to improve – excluding any impact from a potential US infrastructure bill.

The company predicts that Europe and Asia Pacific will continue growing, and the recoveries that were seen to have started in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America will extend into 2018.

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