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Caterpillar gets construction boost, mining segment weak

Keywords: Tags  Caterpillar, earnings report, construction, mining, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Caterpillar Inc.’s construction segment contributed to a 4.1-percent increase in second-quarter net income, offsetting continued weakness in its mining segment.

"Construction industries had a good quarter, with sales up 11 percent and operating profit up 83 percent from the second quarter of 2013," chairman and chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman said in comments accompanying the company’s second-quarter financial results. "(That improvement), along with sales stability and record profit from energy and transportation, has helped us improve profit despite the downturn in the mining industry."

The pickup in construction-related activities was particularly noticeable in the domestic market, buoying overall results for the segment. "In North America, sales increased 6 percent, primarily due to improving demand for construction equipment in the United States," the Peoria, Ill.-based company said.

Caterpillar’s North American construction segment saw a 19.6-percent rise in sales to $2.4 billion during the quarter from $2 billion a year ago.

Mining-related activity remained slow, however, with sales in North America falling 8.6 percent to $866 million from $948 million in the second quarter of last year. Global mining sales slumped 28.5 percent to $2.24 billion in the same comparison.

"The mining industry remains weak, and quoting activity and order rates remain at low levels," the company said, adding that substantial further declines are unlikely, given already-subdued new equipment orders.

Caterpillar took a 12-cent-per-share hit during the second quarter due to restructuring moves, which included layoffs at both foreign and domestic operations (, Oct. 3).The company has cut its U.S. work force by 2,430 and its overseas work force by 4,310 since the end of the second quarter of last year.

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