Caterpillar Announces 37 Percent Sales Decline, Anticipates Stronger 2010

Engine manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. announced a 37 percent decline in overall sales for 2009.

In its Q4 and 2009 year-end results, revealed today, the company reported revenues of $32.396 billion for 2009, a decrease of 37 percent from $51.324 billion reported in 2008. Profit per share was $1.43, down 75 percent. Excluding redundancy costs of $0.75, 2009 profit was $2.18 per share (all figures $US).

Fourth-quarter sales and revenues were $7.898 billion, down 39 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008. Profit per share for the quarter was $0.36, down 67 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008. Excluding redundancy costs, profit for the fourth quarter was $0.41 per share.

“While the economy in 2009 was the worst our company has experienced since the Great Depression, I'm proud to report that Team Caterpillar responded in an extraordinary way,” said Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens. “We delivered solid profitability and cash flow and dramatically improved our balance sheet. In addition, we had continued access to debt markets, improved our liquidity position, expanded credit facilities and made a conscious decision to hold more cash. As a result, we maintained our dividend rate, made significant pension contributions and continued to invest in new products and selective new capacity. Our employees, dealers and suppliers in every region of the world pulled together to achieve these results, and we thank them for their hard work and sacrifice. As a result, we are exceptionally well positioned for continued industry leadership and growth as the global economy recovers.”

Caterpillar expects 2010 sales and revenues to be up 10 to 25 percent from 2009 levels, and profit is expected to be about $2.50 per share at the midpoint of the sales and revenues range.

“We're encouraged by signs of improving demand. Dealer sales to end users are up, order rates are up, dealer inventories came down in 2009, and we're seeing stronger service parts sales,” Owens said. “As a result, we are focused on increasing production levels in our plants and with our suppliers. Although we expect efficiency improvements in 2010, higher production will require selective increases in employment, and we've already recalled more than 500 previously laid-off production employees. We expect 2010 will be a better year than 2009, and Caterpillar is in an excellent position to benefit from growth in the world economy.”

Caterpillar manufactures a wide range of marine propulsion engines from 250 to 21,475 horsepower, as well as a range of auxiliary engines and generator sets. This includes its C9 ACERT power option for Mercury Marine's Zeus pod drive system.