Caterpillar Inc. said its fourth-quarter and full-year financial performance improved on rising sales.
The Deerfield, Illinois-based maker of mining trucks and other heavy equipment reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.05 billion, or $1.78 a share. That compares to a year-earlier loss of $1.3 billion, or $2.18 a share. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Caterpillar took a $2.4 billion charge related to the new U.S. tax law.
Excluding some costs, Caterpillar said its adjusted quarterly profit was $2.55 a share, an improvement from 2017’s $2.16. The adjusted profit figure was below analyst forecasts of $2.99, according to CNBC citing a survey by Refinitiv.
Revenue for the quarter rose 11% to $14.3 billion. Contributing to the gain was increased demand in North America related to the oil and gas industry as well as non-residential construction. At the same time, Caterpillar said demand was lower in China.
Caterpillar is a closely watched manufacturing because of the worldwide scope of its operations. It has a major presence in China. As a result, Caterpillar is seen as an indicator of how the global economy is performing.
For all of 2018, Caterpillar posted a profit of $6.15 billion, or $10.26 a share, up from $754 million, or $1.26 the year before. Adjusted profit for 2018 was $11.22 a share compared with $6.88 for 2017. Revenue for 2018 totaled $54.7 billion, up from $45.5 billion the year before.
Caterpillar “remained focused on serving our customers,” CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement.
The company forecast a 2019 profit of $11.75 to $12.75. Analysts had forecast $12.73, CNBC said. The forecast “assumes a modest sales increase,” Umpleby said.
For part of this decade, Caterpillar has closed plants and cut jobs. In 2018, the manufacturer added 5,600 full-time employees for a total of 104,000. In the U.S. Caterpillar added 3,200 full-time jobs to 53,700.