Caterpillar Earnings Rise Cautious on Economy

Caterpillar Earnings Rise, 'Cautious' on Economy

In 2013, Caterpillar closed some facilities, downsized others and cut nearly 10,000 staff from its workforce.

NEW YORK -- Industrial giant Caterpillar (IW 500/18) Monday reported higher quarterly profits that bested expectations, but said it remained cautious about economic conditions in light of a mining slowdown that has battered recent results.

Net income for the fourth quarter came in at $1.0 billion on revenues of $14.4 billion, up 43.9% from the year-ago level of $697 million on $15.4 billion in revenues.

The results equated to $1.54 per share, well above the $1.28 seen by analysts.

The results snapped a recent losing streak of disappointing results that has left Caterpillar one of the poorest performers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Caterpillar had slashed its profit forecast for the three previous quarters in a row.

Earnings for all of 2013 were $3.8 billion on revenues of $55.7 billion, compared with $5.7 billion on revenues of $65.9 billion

While Caterpillar, which sells machinery and engines to the construction, farming, mining and petroleum sectors, sees "some signs of improvement in the world economy," it said restrained investment among mining companies would continue to weigh on results.

"We continue to be cautious and are making the tough decisions necessary to better position us down the road when economic conditions improve and our sales rebound," said chief executive Doug Oberhelman.

In 2013, Caterpillar closed some facilities, downsized others and cut nearly 10,000 staff from its workforce.

The company plans additional restructuring in 2014 for which it will write off $400-$500 million.

Caterpillar forecast 2014 earnings of $5.85 per share, excluding restructuring costs, above the $5.78 projected by analysts.

The company also announced a new $10 billion stock repurchase program which will expire in 2018.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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