Caterpillar Inc far exceeded analyst expectations on Monday, reporting a 44 percent quarterly earnings increase and record revenue, and signaling tempered optimism in its 2012 sales outlook.
The Peoria, Illinois, company said it expects full-year 2011 profit and revenue to be at the top end of its previous outlook range due to strong demand. In 2012, the company expects revenue to increase 10 percent to 20 percent above the $58 billion in sales it expects this year.
Caterpillar is one of a slate of industrial companies outpacing analyst expectations during the current earnings reporting season. Like some of its peers, the company is encouraged by the strong results but remaining cautious about the wider economy.
Although there is a good deal of economic and political uncertainty in the world, we are not seeing it much in our business at this point, Caterpillar Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman said in a press release. We believe continued economic recovery, albeit a slow recovery, is the most likely scenario as we move forward.
The world's largest heavy machinery manufacturer reported third-quarter net income attributable to common shareholders of $1.14 billion, or $1.71 per share, compared with $792 million, or $1.22 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected Caterpillar to earn $1.54 per share in the third quarter.
Sales rose 41 percent to $15.7 billion, which is a record, according to the company.
Caterpillar said full-year 2011 results would come in at the highest end of its previous outlook.
The company now expects annual revenue of $58 billion, including its recent acquisition of Bucyrus. Its previous forecast had been a range of $56 billion and $58 billion.
Profit is now expected to be $6.75 per share for the year, compared with a prior forecast of $6.25 to $6.75. Including the impact of Bucyrus, Caterpillar expects 2011 profit to reach $7.25 per share.
Caterpillar said 2011 will be a record year if the company hits its earnings and revenue expectations.
Caterpillar said it added 4,800 jobs during the quarter, including 2,000 in the United States.
Its shares were up about 5 percent in premarket trading.
(Reporting by John D. Stoll in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)