Caterpillar Sees Growth in 2012; Q4 profit up 60% image

U.S. heavy equipment giant Caterpillar Inc also known as “CAT”, said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit jumped 60 percent, lifting the stock market and bolstering expectations the world economy will escape a recession.

The world’s sales leader in bulldozers, excavators and other earth-moving machinery issued rosy guidance, saying that it expects the global economy to grow faster this year and construction activity to continue to improve in most parts of the world.

“We’re expecting 2012 to be another year of good growth,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman commented in a written statement.

“We expect 2012 to be a new sales record at a time when construction activity in the United States and Europe–two large markets for us–are still depressed.”

Construction sales rose 31 percent, to $5.26 billion, while resource industries sales, which include Bucyrus, jumped 80 percent, to $5.06 billion. Sales of power systems were up 22 percent, to $5.67 billion.

Fourth-quarter profit reached $1.55 billion, or $2.32 a share, up from $968 million, or $1.47, in the year-ago period. Earnings topped Wall Street’s forecast by a whopping 59 cents a share, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

However, the company said construction markets in the United States and Europe remain “depressed,” contrasting the strong growth taking place in emerging regions.

Caterpillar said it added 14,000 employees in 2011 in order to meet growing demand, 6,500 of which were added in the United States. The company said it exported nearly $20 billion worth of goods in 2011, representing a third of its total revenue for the year.