Sales dip for Caterpillar

Caterpillar Inc. today reported second quarter earnings of $960 million, or $1.45 per share, down from $1.7 billion, or $2.54 per share, in the same period a year ago.

The Peoria, Ill.-based manufacturer’s quarterly sales and revenues dipped to $14.6 billion from $17.4 billion a year ago.

The company’s world mining division is based in Oak Creek and operates a production plant in South Milwaukee.

“Even though our sales and profit in the second quarter are down from last year, I’m pleased with how our team has performed. We’ve taken action to respond to the economic environment we find ourselves in, and operationally, the team has done a great job. We experienced headwinds during the quarter, and while we had a positive $135 million gain related to the Siwei settlement, it was more than offset by currency translation and hedging losses, an additional $1 billion of dealer machine inventory reductions and a decline of $1.2 billion in our own inventory. While these were significantly negative to profit in the second quarter, our outlook doesn’t reflect additional currency losses or reductions in our inventory during the second half of 2013. As a result, we expect profit to improve in the second half of the year,” said Caterpillar chairman and chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman. “The $1 billion reduction in dealer machine inventory was more than we previously expected and was negative to our sales and profit in the quarter. While dealer machine inventory is low by historic standards, dealers are utilizing inventory from our product distribution centers and are positioned to reduce inventory even further. As a result, we expect dealer machine inventory to decline about $1.5 to $2 billion in the second half of 2013 and end the year about $3.5 billion lower than year-end 2012. That means that we are underselling end-user demand this year, and it sets us up for better sales in 2014.”

Oberhelman added, “Operationally, we’ve done very well. We’ve taken action to aggressively lower costs, and we’ve been successful in the marketplace with end-user demand for Cat machines outpacing the industry overall. In addition, our business in China improved – our sales and end-user demand for Cat machines were up in the quarter while the overall construction equipment industry was down. Cash flow was outstanding and coupled with our strong balance sheet, puts us in a position to repurchase more Caterpillar stock this year. I am confident we are positioned to improve results in the second half of 2013.”

The company revised its outlook for 2013 to reflect sales and revenues in a range of $56 to $58 billion, with profit per share of about $6.50 at the middle of the sales and revenues outlook range.

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