Despite economic and political uncertainty in the United States, continued economic turmoil in much of Europe and slower growth in China, Caterpillar Inc. today announced record 2012 sales and revenues of $65.875 billion, an increase of 10 percent from $60.138 billion in 2011. Profit per share of $8.48 was also an all-time record, including the impact of the previously announced goodwill impairment charge of $0.87 per share related to Siwei. The 2012 profit per share of $8.48 was up 15 percent from $7.40 in 2011. Profit was $5.681 billion, an increase of 15 percent from $4.928 billion in 2011.
Fourth-quarter 2012 sales and revenues were $16.075 billion, down $1.168 billion from $17.243 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. The impact of changes in dealer new machine inventories lowered sales by about $1.4 billion as dealers reduced inventories about $600 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with an increase of about $800 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Fourth-quarter 2012 profit was $697 million compared with $1.547 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. Profit was $1.04 per share in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with profit per share of $2.32 in the fourth quarter of 2011. Fourth-quarter 2012 profit was negatively impacted by the previously announced goodwill impairment charge of $580 million, or $0.87 per share. Lower sales and revenues and the cost impact from sharply lower production and the $2 billion decline in Caterpillar inventory also had a negative impact on fourth-quarter profit. Those impacts were partially offset by a $300 million positive impact related to the settlement of prior-year tax returns.
“From an operational standpoint, 2012 was a very successful year with record sales and profit in a tough economic climate. Considering the weak economy in the United States, along with much of Europe in recession and China slowing, we had a solid year. Our incremental operating profit pull through was very good, we made progress adjusting inventory levels, and our quality and safety indicators continued to improve,” said Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman.
“I'm extremely pleased with our performance on reducing inventory $2 billion in the fourth quarter. As the world economy began to soften at mid year, we increased our focus on reducing inventory. Cat dealers also worked to lower their inventories, and, as a result, reduced their order rates during the second half of 2012. The result was a substantial reduction in our production levels and inventory. The reductions had a significantly negative impact on fourth-quarter sales and profit. The $2 billion inventory reduction in the fourth quarter was a remarkable effort, but we're not done. Reduced production levels are likely to continue at least through the first quarter of 2013 until inventories and dealer order rates move back in line with end-user demand,” Oberhelman added.
The outlook for 2013 is sales and revenues in a range of $60 to $68 billion and profit per share of $7.00 to $9.00.
“The range of our 2013 outlook reflects the level of uncertainty we see in the world today. We're encouraged by recent improvements in economic indicators, but remain cautious. While we expect some improvement in the U.S. economy, growth is expected to be relatively weak. We believe China's economy will continue to improve, but not to the growth rates of 2010 and 2011. We also remain concerned about Europe and expect economies in that region will continue to struggle in 2013," said Oberhelman.
“If the recent improvement in economic indicators continues, 2013 could be another record year for Caterpillar. We expect the first half of 2013 will be weaker than the first half of 2012, with better growth in the second half. However, if, like the last two years, growth and confidence decline in the second half, 2013 could be a tough year. Either way, as we demonstrated with inventory reductions in the fourth quarter, our team is prepared to execute and deliver,” Oberhelman added.
Caterpillar worldwide full-time employment (caterpillar.com) was 125,341 at the end of 2012 compared with 125,099 at the end of 2011, an increase of 242 full-time employees. The flexible workforce decreased 6,989 for a net decrease in the global workforce of 6,747.
The decrease was the result of divestitures and lower production in the fourth quarter of 2012, partially offset by acquisitions. Divestitures, primarily the sale of a majority interest in our third party logistics business and portions of the Bucyrus distribution business, decreased the global workforce by 7,723. Acquisitions, primarily Siwei, added 4,643 to the global workforce.