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Caterpillar Cuts Forecast After Sales Fall in ‘Painful’ Year

October 23, 2013

(Updates share price in sixth paragraph.)


Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Caterpillar Inc., the biggest maker of construction and mining equipment, cut its 2013 sales and profit forecast and said revenue will be little changed next year after a slump in orders from commodity producers.

Earnings will fall to about $5.50 a share on sales of $55 billion this year, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. In July, it forecast per-share profit of about $6.50 on sales of $56 billion to $58 billion.

Revenue in 2014 will be in a range of 5 percent lower to 5 percent higher than this year because of "very low" mining- machinery orders and uncertainties over global economic growth, it said. The shares fell as much as 6.1 percent.

Caterpillar said demand from the mining industry has been difficult to forecast this year after customers decided to focus on existing projects instead of new mines. BHP Billion Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group are among mining companies that have cut billions of dollars of capital expenditure this year. Caterpillar said it fired more than 13,000 workers in the past year as it adjusted output.

"It has been a painful year and has required wide ranging and substantial actions across the company," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman said in the statement, "There are encouraging signs, but there is also a good deal of uncertainty worldwide as we look ahead to 2014."

Caterpillar fell 5.8 percent to $84 at 9:55 a.m. in New York. Earlier it touched $83.75, the biggest intraday decline since January 2012.


Inventory Decline


"The implied fourth-quarter guidance is certainly weaker than expected and the flat outlook for next year was expected but now it’s on a lower base, which is not exactly encouraging," Larry De Maria, a New York-based analyst for William Blair & Co. who has a buy rating on the shares, said in a telephone interview today. "The stock ran up into the report but now it’s going to settle back down on concerns about the outlook."

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