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CAT Profit Soars Five-Fold Thanks To Economic Recovery

Fri, 04/29/2011 - 4:53am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said its first-quarter profit soared more than five-fold as a growing economic recovery boosted demand for the company's mining and construction equipment.

The results blew past analysts' expectations and its boosted its outlook for the year. Its shares rose more than 3 percent in pre-market trading.

The Peoria, Ill., based company said Friday its net income climbed to a record $1.23 billion, or $1.84 per share, for the quarter ended March 31. That's up from $233 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago. Caterpillar said its revenue rose 57 percent to $12.95 billion.

Analysts had expected earnings of $1.30 on revenue of $11.43 billion.

Caterpillar's earnings reflect a global economy that growing again. The company makes the kind of earth-moving machines used for construction, mining and logging. Revenue at Caterpillar's machinery and power systems division surged to $12.29 billion from $7.55 billion during the same period last year.

"We expect that the pace of world economic growth will support continued recovery in the key industries we serve," CEO Doug Oberhelman said in a statement.

Based on its higher-than-expected sales, Caterpillar boosted its 2011 outlook, forecasting revenue between $52 to $54 billion and net income between $6.25 and $6.75 per share. It previously forecast revenue above $50 billion and net income of roughly $6 per share. The company said its projection does not include its recent acquisitions of MWM Holding GmbH or Bucyrus International, Inc. because the deals haven't closed yet.

Caterpillar said its outlook would have been higher if not for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which damaged many of its suppliers. Supply disruptions and delays will likely cost the company $300 million on lost sales and $100 million in lost profit.

Its shares rose $3.46, or 3.1 percent, to $116.10 in pre-market trading.

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