Caterpillar reports 1Q results

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Caterpillar today reported a first-quarter 2011 profit per share of $1.84, an all-time quarterly record and a 411 percent improvement from 36 cents in the first quarter of 2010.

First-quarter sales and revenue of $12.95 billion were up 57 percent from $8.24 billion in the first quarter of 2010. Profit was a record $1.23 billion in the quarter, an increase of 426 percent from $233 million in the first quarter of 2010.

"I am very pleased with our first-quarter results - demand continued to improve, we increased production, cost control was excellent and our operating profit margin improved. We generated more than $1.6 billion of operating cash flow from our machinery and power-systems businesses, an increase of more than 50 percent, and our debt-to-capital ratio dropped more than 4 percentage points from year-end 2010," chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman said in a statement.

"Our new organization is in place, is focused on execution and is getting the job done. Given the scale of the volume ramp-up over the past year we also need to recognize the tremendous job that our suppliers and dealers have done to support us and our customers," he added.

First-quarter profit was $1.23 billion, compared with a profit of $233 million in the first quarter of 2010. The improvement in profit was primarily a result of significantly higher sales volume, the company said.

The outlook for 2011 has improved. Sales and revenue are now expected to be in a range of $52 billion to $54 billion, and profits to be in a range of $6.25 to $6.75 a share. The previous 2011 outlook was for sales and revenue to exceed $50 billion and for profits to be near $6 a share.

"While the 2011 outlook has improved, the increase would have been greater if not for the impact of the disaster in Japan," the company said. "Our facilities were not damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, but many of our suppliers in Japan were impacted. As a result, we are experiencing sporadic production disruptions at many of our facilities around the world. We expect the disruptions will have a negative impact on sales, factory efficiency and costs - particularly in the second quarter."

Oberhelman said he was positive about the short-term U.S. economic outlook, but he thinks "bipartisan actions are needed in Washington to improve the long-run fiscal position of the U.S. government."

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