Caterpillar reports 4Q, year-end results

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Caterpillar Inc. reported sharply higher fourth-quarter 2017 revenue and adjusted profit per share.

The company said revenue for the quarter that ended Dec. 31 was up 35 percent at $12.9 billion, compared with $9.6 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted profit per share was $2.16, compared with 83 cents last year.

“After four challenging years, many key markets improved in 2017, and our global team delivered strong results. We remained focused on operational excellence and made early investments in profitable growth initiatives as we began to implement our new strategy,” Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement.

Caterpillar said its adjusted profit per share excludes several large adjustments that consist of the impact of federal tax reform, restructuring costs, mark-to-market losses for remeasurement of pension and other post-employment benefits plans, state deferred tax valuation allowance adjustments, a gain on the sale of an equity investment in 2017 and a goodwill impairment charge in 2016.

For the full year, sales and revenue were up about 18 percent, to $45.5 billion, from $38.5 billion the previous year. Full-year profit was $1.26 a share in 2017, compared with a loss of 11 cents a share in 2016.

Caterpillar said its financial position “continued to strengthen” in the fourth quarter. Machinery, Energy & Transportation’s operating cash flow was $1.3 billion during the quarter and $5.5 billion for the full year. The ME&T debt-to-capital ratio was 36.7 percent at the end of the year, compared with 41 percent at the end of 2016.

The company said it was starting 2018 with “strong sales momentum resulting from strong order rates, lean dealer inventories and an increasing backlog,” although it said the locomotive and marine markets are expected to remain challenged.

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