Caterpillar reports 4Q, year-end results

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Caterpillar Inc. today announced fourth-quarter 2014 sales and revenue of $14.2 billion, down slightly from $14.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Profit per share in the fourth quarter of 2014 was $1.23, compared with $1.54 in the quarter a year earlier. Excluding restructuring costs, fourth-quarter 2014 profit per share was $1.35, compared with $1.68 in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The company reported a profit of $757 million for the 2014 quarter, compared with $1 billion a year earlier, and reported a profit for the full year of $3.7 billion, compared with $3.8 billion in 2013.

Sales and revenue for all of 2014 were $55.2 billion, down slightly from $55.7 billion in 2013.

Sales were up in energy and transportation as well as construction.

"Overall, we had many positives and a better year in 2014 than 2013," said Caterpillar chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman in a statement. "We are disappointed that we missed our profit outlook in the fourth quarter. That said, 2014 overall was a successful year as we continued to execute on the things we can control. Our overall market position for machines improved for the fourth consecutive year; the quality of the machines delivered to customers was better; safety in our factories continued to improve and inventory turns were better. Our balance sheet is strong, and we repurchased $4.2 billion of stock in 2014 and raised the quarterly dividend by 17 percent.”

The company expects continued slow growth in the world economy and continued weakness in commodity prices. It expects 2015 sales and revenue to be about $50 billion.

During the last two years, Caterpillar has undertaken restructuring activities designed to lower its long-term costs.

In addition to reducing expectations in mining, the company has lowered expectations for construction equipment sales in China.

"While we are, without a doubt, facing a tough year in 2015, we're driving cost management through additional restructuring actions and continued operational improvements gained from our focus on lean management,” Oberhelman said. “While 2015 will be difficult, the work we've done to improve our cost structure, market position and quality will position us for better results when the world economy and the key industries we serve improve.”

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