VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Global mining and construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has reported record first-quarter profit as strength in many of its end-markets and a strong emphasis on cost control boosted margins.
The Deerfield, Illinois-based company reported adjusted profit of $2.82 a share – up 120% compared with $1.28 a share a year earlier. This beat the average analyst forecast for earnings a share of $2.07.
Revenue for the three-month period ended March 31 also jumped 31.63% year-on-year to $12.9-billion, compared with $9.8-billion in the comparable period of 2017.
Caterpillar increased its full-year profit outlook by $2 to a range of $9.75 to $10.75 a share, on the back of strong and growing demand for its products and services. The company advised that the outlook includes about $400-million of restructuring costs – unchanged from the previous January outlook. The revised outlook range for adjusted profit is $10.25 to $11.25 a share, Caterpillar said.
The company cited better-than-expected sales volume as the main driver of the raised profit outlook, with higher volumes expected across the three primary business segments when compared with the prior outlook. The business units comprise the construction industries, the resource industries and the energy and transportation unit.
The manufacturer pointed out that improved price realisation is expected to be partially offset by material cost increases, as a result of higher commodity prices. However, despite the anticipated increase in volume, the company expects period costs, excluding a short-term incentive compensation expense, to be in line with the previous outlook.
Caterpillar expects global economic confidence and higher commodity price levels to prompt miners to increase capital expenditure this year, for both equipment replacement cycles and expansions. Higher machine utilisation levels should also support aftermarket parts growth. Strong global demand for commodities is also expected to be positive for heavy construction and quarry and aggregate customers, the company said.
Cat Financial also reported first-quarter financial results on Tuesday, saying revenues jumped $28-million to $690-million, an increase of 4%, compared with the first quarter of 2017. Profit was 21% lower year-on-year at $91-million.
Despite a somewhat bloody first quarter for Caterpillar’s NYSE-listed equity, the stock had gained about 70% in value to $157 apiece on Tuesday, since it reached a low of about $90 a share in early 2017. Shares jumped as much as 4.6% in early trading on Tuesday to $161.10 apiece, before falling back to $155.62 a share by noon.