CHICAGO Caterpillar Inc.
posted first-quarter net income of $880 million, down 44.5
percent from nearly $1.59 billion in the same period last year
on revenue that slid 17.3 percent to $13.21 billion.
Caterpillar had warned investors
that the first quarter would be challenging, "and it certainly
was," chairman and chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman said
in a statement April 22. "Inventory changes were a major
factor. In the first quarter of 2012, we added about $2 billion
to inventory, but this year we cut inventory by about a
Caterpillar dealers added
machine inventory of about $875 million in the first quarter of
2012; this year, they reduced machine inventory by about $700
million, Oberhelman said. "Those are significant year-to-year
swings and, coupled with moderating end-user demand, (they)
resulted in revenues being down."
The company did manage costs
while making additional progress on rightsizing inventories, he
The Peoria, Ill.-based company
revised its sales outlook downward by 5 to 10 percent.
"Whats happening in our business and in the economy
overall is a mixed picture," Oberhelman said. "Conditions in
the world economy seem relatively stable, and we continue to
expect slow growth in 2013."
Domestically, Caterpillar is "encouraged by progress so far"
and has grown more optimistic about the housing sector in
particular. But globally, the company expects mining equipment
sales to decline "significantly" in 2013.