Caterpillar Inc. today reported profit per share of $1.31 in the first quarter of 2013, down from first-quarter 2012 profit per share of $2.37. First-quarter 2013 sales and revenues were $13.210 billion, a decline from $15.981 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Profit was $880 million in the first quarter of 2013, compared with $1.586 billion in the first quarter of 2012.
“In our year-end 2012 financial release, we said the first quarter of 2013 would be challenging, and it certainly was. As expected, inventory changes were a major factor. Caterpillar and our dealers usually add inventory in the first quarter to prepare for higher end-user demand in the spring and summer. In the first quarter of 2012, we added about $2 billion to inventory, but this year, we cut inventory by about a half billion dollars. In the first quarter of 2012, Cat dealers added machine inventory of about $875 million, and this year, they reduced machine inventory by about $700 million. Those are significant year-to-year swings, and coupled with moderating end-user demand, resulted in sales and revenues being down 17 percent,” said Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman.
“Considering the magnitude of the decline in sales and production, I am very pleased with our performance in the first quarter. We did a good job managing costs and made even more progress on inventory reduction. Operating cash flow was a highlight in the quarter and improved nearly $900 million from the first quarter of 2012. Better cash flow and the strength of our balance sheet are enabling us to resume stock repurchases,” Oberhelman added.