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Caterpillar Profit Beats Estimates, Lifts Outlook


Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) on Wednesday reported a 29 percent increase in profit for the first quarter, helped by growth in its mining business and strong demand for replacement equipment domestically.

Earnings per share topped analysts' expectations, while revenues missed their view. Looking ahead, Caterpillar maintained its full-year sales guidance and raised its earnings outlook.

Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Caterpillar said in a statement, "We're seeing strong global demand for most mining products and significant growth in replacement demand for products in the United States, which more than offset slowing in China and Brazil."

Caterpillar's machinery and power systems sales grew 25 percent in the first quarter to $15.29 billion, while financial products revenue rose 3 percent to $693 million.

At the end of the first quarter, the company's order backlog was $30.7 billion, up from $29.8 billion at the end of 2011.

Caterpillar's worldwide full-time employment was 127,238 at the end of the first quarter, representing an increase of 21,844 full-time employees, compared to the prior-year period.

In the first quarter, the company's net income increased to $1.59 billion or $2.37 per share from $1.23 billion or $1.84 per share in the year-ago period.

On average, 21 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $2.12 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total sales and revenues for the quarter rose 23 percent to $15.98 billion from $12.95 billion in the year-ago period, but missed analysts' consensus estimate of $16.16 billion.

The increase in sales and revenues were a result of higher sales volume due to increase in new equipment and aftermarket parts, in addition to acquisitions and price realizations.

For 2012 as a whole, Caterpillar continues to expect sales and revenues in a range of $68 billion to $72 billion.

The company now forecasts earnings per share for the year of about $9.50 at the middle of the sales and revenues outlook range, up from the prior forecast of about $9.25 per share. Analysts expect the company to earn $9.51 per share for the year on revenues of $71.16 billion.

Separately, Caterpillar's unit Cat Financial reported first-quarter profit after tax of $120 million, up 45 percent from last year. Revenues for the quarter rose 4 percent to $668 million.

The increase in revenues was principally due to a $47 million favorable impact from higher average earning assets, the unit said.

CAT closed Tuesday' session at $108.40, up $1.50 on a volume of 5.69 million shares. In Wednesday's pre-market, the stock is down $1.43 or 1.32 percent to $106.97.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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