Caterpillar second quarter sales jump

By Helen Wright25 July 2012

US equipment manufacturer Caterpillar reported revenues of US$ 17.3 billion for the second quarter, up +22% year-on-year and a quarterly record, according to the company.

Net profit also soared +67% compared to the second quarter of 2011 to US$ 1.7 billion.

In the construction equipment division, revenues for the quarter totalled US$ 5.3 billion - up +8% year-on-year - while operating profit increased +42% compared to the second quarter of 2011 to US$ 688 million.

Caterpillar said construction sales were boosted by a rise in demand from North America, which helped to offset a slowdown in China and Latin America.

North American construction equipment sales were up +42% year-on-year, while Latin American sales dropped -3%, Asia Pacific sales fell -11% and Europe, Africa and Middle East sales were flat compared to last year.

However, the company lowered its overall sales forecast for 2012 to between US$ 68 billion and US$ 70 billion, compared to its previous outlook range of US$ 68 billion to US$ 72 billion. It said the narrower range was down to weaker economic conditions in much of the world and about US$ 1 billion of negative currency impacts.

Nevertheless, Caterpillar raised its profit forecast for the full year to US$ 9.60 per share, compared to its previous outlook of US$ 9.50.

Troubled backdrop

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said, "Caterpillar's success in 2012 is occurring despite US construction activity that remains depressed and well below the prior peak, the problems facing Eurozone economies and economic concerns in China."

He said the manufacturer was prepared to act quickly if it became necessary, but added, "While we're prepared, the good news is, this doesn't feel like 2008. Interest rates are low, central banks are prepared to inject more liquidity if needed."

Mr Oberhelman highlighted easing monetary policy in Brazil and China, and said economic growth was expected to be boosted in the latter in late 2012 and 2013.

He said it would likely take some time for the Eurozone to fix its problems, but the situation should be stabilised by monetary easing by the European Central Bank, a commitment to resolve debt issues and more focus on economic growth.

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