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Caterpillar Profit Falls as Product Demand Drops

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Caterpillar Inc., the maker of heavy construction and mining equipment, today reported a sharply lower third-quarter profit as demand for the company’s products dropped.

The Deerfield, Illinois-based company said its quarterly profit totaled $668 million, or $1.22 a share, down from $1.49 billion, or $2.66, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding some items, Caterpillar’s adjusted profit was $1.34 a share. That was better than analyst forecasts of $1.18, according to CNBC.

Caterpillar’s quarterly revenue slid 23 percent to $9.88 billion.

Caterpillar is a barometer of manufacturing generally. The company’s products include earth-moving equipment and mining trucks. It serves markets such as energy and construction across the globe. Like many manufacturers, its business has been affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The quarterly figures “largely aligned with our expectations,” CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement. “We continue to safely navigate the pandemic.”

The CEO said there were “positive signs in certain industries and geographies.” Umpleby didn’t provide specifics.

Caterpillar, he said, is “ready to respond quickly to changing market conditions.”

The third-quarter figures included some losses from settling pension obligations. The per-share figure benefited from lower-than-expected taxes.

For the first nine months of 2020, Caterpillar’s profit totaled $2.2 billion, or $4.05 a share. That was down from almost $5 billion, or $8.75, during the same period last year.

Nine-month revenue declined to $30.5 billion, down from $40.7 billion in 2019.

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