Financial Performance

Caterpillar’s Q3 Results Roar Past Estimates

Sales of the company's heavy equipment have benefited from the turnaround in the North American construction industry.
Matthew HellerOctober 24, 2017

Caterpillar shares rose nearly 5% on Tuesday after the construction and mining giant announced quarterly results that blew by analysts’ estimates amid continued strong demand for heavy equipment in North America and China.

For the third quarter, Caterpillar posted revenue of $11.4 billion, up 24% on the year-ago period, and net income of $1.58 billion, up more than threefold from $481 million. Excluding restructuring costs, earnings were $1.95 per share.

Analysts had predicted earnings of $1.27 per share on revenue of $10.65 billion.

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Caterpillar also raised its full-year guidance for sales and earnings, forecasting revenue in its construction business will surge about 20% and mining business to jump 30%. It now expects full-year earnings per share of $4.60, up from its previous estimate of $3.50.

“As a result of our team’s strong performance, we are raising our 2017 profit outlook,” CEO Jim Umpleby said in a news release. “We are executing our new strategy for profitable growth based on operational excellence, expanded offerings and services.”

As The Financial Times reports, “Caterpillar endured some painful periods under former chief executive Douglas Oberhelman, whose investments to boost production globally and expand the company’s mining equipment range came amid an economic slowdown in China and as commodity prices began their protracted slump.”

But according to Reuters, the construction industry in North America has been turning around after years of slow demand, fueled by a steady housing recovery, an improving labor market, and higher spending by oil and gas companies.

Construction industries led Caterpillar’s three main divisions with a 37% revenue increase for the third quarter, followed by resource industries (38%) and energy and transportation (12%).

“Caterpillar continues to see strength in a number of industries and regions, including construction in China, on-shore oil and gas in North America, and increased capital investments by mining customers,” the company said. “We are working with our supply chain to increase production levels to satisfy customer demand for those markets that have improved.”

The company also is benefiting from a multi-year restructuring effort that resulted in significant workforce and plant reductions.

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