Caterpillar lowers outlook

Despite posting a record third quarter with a 49-percent increase in earnings, Caterpillar Inc. lowered its outlook for 2013.

“Last quarter and then again a month ago at MINExpo, we discussed economic and geopolitical headwinds facing the world, and we are certainly continuing to see the impact of those uncertainties in our business,” said Caterpillar chairman and chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman. “Even so, we had a record third quarter, and our entire organization is focused on finishing 2012 as the best year for sales and profit in our history. Despite the turbulence in the global economy, we continue to track toward our goals on cost control, margin improvement, product quality, safety and better product availability for our customers.”

Looking forward, Oberhelman said, “We now expect 2012 sales and revenues to be about $66 billion and profit in a range of $9.00 to $9.25 per share. The previous outlook for sales and revenues was a range of $68 to $70 billion with profit of about $9.60 per share at the middle of the sales and revenues outlook range. The decline in the sales and revenues outlook reflects global economic conditions that are weaker than we had previously expected. In addition, Cat dealers have lowered order rates well below end-user demand to reduce their inventories. Production across much of the company has been lowered, resulting in temporary shutdowns and layoffs. Lower production will continue until inventories and dealer order rates move back in line with dealer deliveries to end users. The reduction in the profit outlook is in line with the lower sales and revenues outlook, partially offset by the gain on the sale of a majority interest in our third party logistics business.”

Oberhelman dismissed fears that the U.S. government will go over a “fiscal cliff.”

“We’re not expecting rapid growth, and we’re not predicting a global recession,” he said.

Caterpillar’s Global Mining headquarters are based in Oak Creek, and the company operates the former Bucyrus International Inc. plant in South Milwaukee.

Bucyrus, which was acquired on July 8, 2011, had sales of $1.090 billion in the third quarter of 2012 compared with $1.135 billion in third quarter of 2011.

“Over the past two years we have added capacity for mining products to better align production with expected demand. As a result of the increase in production capability, coupled with our existing mining order backlog, sales were higher than the third quarter of 2011. While sales were up in the quarter compared with the third quarter of 2011, new orders declined significantly. Slow global growth and commodity prices that are off their 2012 highs have resulted in some reductions, delays and cancellation of orders for mining products,” Oberhelman said.

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