Caterpillar reports higher second-quarter profit

Caterpillar reports increased profit for the second quarter of 2014, due in part to continuing improvements int eh Construction Industries and Energy & Transportation segments.

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Caterpillar Inc. announced profit per share of $1.57 for the second quarter of 2014, an increase from $1.45 per share in the second quarter of 2013. The second quarter of 2014 included a negative impact of $0.12 per share for previously announced restructuring activities. Excluding restructuring costs, profit per share was $1.69. Second-quarter 2014 sales and revenues were $14.150 billion, slightly lower than second-quarter 2013 sales and revenues of $14.621 billion.

"We're pleased with our second-quarter results, particularly the improvement in profit. We increased the bottom line despite a weak quarter for our Resource Industries segment, which is principally mining. Three key things are contributing to the continuing strength of our financial results—the diversity of our businesses, substantial success in operational improvements through the execution of our strategy and the strength of our cash flow and balance sheet," says Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman.             

"Our Construction Industries and Energy & Transportation segments continue to improve. Construction Industries had a good quarter with sales up 11% and operating profit up 83% from the second quarter of 2013.  The improvement in Construction Industries, along with sales stability and record profit from Energy & Transportation, has helped us improve profit despite the downturn in the mining industry," adds Oberhelman. 

"We understand that we don't control the economy or the timing of a turnaround in mining. That's why we've been so focused on executing our strategy and improving our operational performance, which have helped us control costs with year-to-date manufacturing costs and SG&A and R&D expenses improving nearly $500 million. We've also improved our balance sheet and cash flow over the past few years, and that's contributed to our ability to return value to our stockholders—including today's announcement that we intend to repurchase $2.5 billion of Caterpillar stock in the third quarter," Oberhelman says.

2014 Outlook

The outlook for 2014 sales and revenues has been reasonably consistent with the preliminary outlook that was provided with the third quarter financial release in October of 2013. With half of 2014 now complete, we have tightened the outlook range for the year. The updated outlook for 2014 sales and revenues is a range of $54 to $56 billion. The previous outlook for sales and revenues was $56 billion in a range of plus or minus 5% ($53.2 to $58.8 billion). The range of expectations is tighter and the mid-point of the outlook is slightly lower. Most of the change in the mid-point of the range is in Construction Industries and reflects weaker sales in China, the CIS and in the Africa/Middle East region.

Despite a slightly lower mid-point of the sales and revenues outlook the company is increasing its 2014 profit per share outlook. To provide a better understanding of the company's expectations for 2014 profit, the profit outlook is being provided with and without anticipated restructuring costs. The expectation for restructuring costs in 2014 is now about $400 million—the bottom end of the $400 to $500 million range that was previously expected. With sales and revenues at $55 billion, the mid-point of the outlook range, the revised profit outlook for 2014 including restructuring costs of about $400 million is $5.75 per share, an improvement from the previous outlook of $5.55per share. Excluding restructuring costs, the profit outlook is $6.20 per share, an increase from the previous outlook of $6.10 per share.

"After a sizable drop in sales and revenues in 2013, our ongoing forecasting process has, since the third quarter of last year, pegged 2014 as a roughly ­flat year for sales. That's still the case. There have been plusses and minuses, but they've both been relatively muted in the context of our total sales and revenues. While we'd certainly like to see improvement in economies around the world, and more specifically, the mining industry, the stability that we've seen this year has helped.  Even though sales and revenues are relatively flat compared to last year, we've improved the bottom line with better execution and continued focus on costs," Oberhelman says. 

Stock Repurchase

Caterpillar is announcing its intention to repurchase approximately $2.5 billion of Caterpillar common stock during the third quarter of 2014. This repurchase is part of the $10 billion stock repurchase authorization previously approved by the Board of Directors in the first quarter of 2014. The $2.5 billion repurchase expected in the third quarter is in addition to the approximately $1.7 billion that was repurchased by the company in the first quarter of 2014. 

"With a strong balance sheet, positive cash flow, sufficient cash on hand and more modest needs for capital expenditures, it makes sense to continue to reward stockholders. In 2013, we repurchased $2 billion of stock and raised the dividend by 15%. In June of 2014, we increased the dividend an additional 17%, and by the end of the third quarter, we expect to have repurchased about $4.2 billion of stock in 2014. Rewarding stockholders is an important goal and our actions demonstrate our commitment," Oberhelman says.