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Caterpillar Profit Slips Due to Pandemic

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Caterpillar Inc., the Deerfield, Illinois-based maker of heavy equipment, today reported lower quarterly and full-year profit after sales were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $780 million, or $1.42 a share, compared with $1.1 billion, or $1.97, for the same period in 2019.

Caterpillar’s adjusted profit per share was $2.12 for the quarter, down from $2.71 a year earlier. However, that was better than analyst estimates of $1.49, according to MarketWatch.

Caterpillar’s full-year profit totaled about $3 billion, or $5.46 a share. That compares with a 2019 profit of $6.09 billion, or $10.74.

Quarterly revenue declined to $11.2 billion from $13.1 billion in 2019’s fourth quarter. Full-year 2020 revenue slid to $41.7 billion from $53.8 billion the year before.

Caterpillar produces earth-moving equipment, trucks and other vehicles used in construction and mining. The company operates worldwide and it is a barometer of the economic health of manufacturing.

Management said profit, while lower, showed that operations withstood the issues of dealing with the pandemic.

“I’m proud of our global team’s continued resilience in safely navigating COVID-19,” CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement. The quarterly and full-year results, he said, “reflect the team’s agility in a challenging environment.”

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