CAT Sees Higher Profits Despite Lower Sales

Caterpillar, Inc. says it had a solid first quarter of 2015 in spite of a drop in sales and revenue.

The company announced Thursday morning that profits increased by $189 million, or about 20%, compared to the first quarter of 2014. Excluding restructuring costs, profit per share was $1.86 in the first quarter, up from $1.61 per share in the first quarter of last year.

The increase comes despite the fact that sales and revenue dipped by about 4%, or more than half a billion dollars, compared to 2014.

“[The increase in profit] is due to the focus that we are putting on improving what we can control internally, like cost management,” said Caterpillar spokesperson Rachel Potts.

The company says selling off interest in the logistics business helped boost profits. That means profits will likely be lower for the rest of the year, since the selloff was a one-time deal. The company also expects sales and revenue to be sluggish for the remainder of 2015 due to uncertainty in global markets.

“That’s nothing new for Caterpillar. We’re used to it, we’re good at managing through it, and we’ll do that again this year,” said Potts.

The 2015 expectation for profit per share has gone up from $4.60 to $4.70, but the outlook for sales and revenue is holding steady at $50 billion.

This is the first look at the company’s financial situation since it announced it would be expanding its world headquarters in downtown Peoria. Potts says it’s hard to say what kind of impact the announcement will have on the company moving forward.

“It’s probably too early to tell, but we are pleased with the fact that we could make that announcement and perhaps set some minds at ease,” said Potts.

The announcement of the plans for the massive downtown campus was met with much excitement from local, state, and federal lawmakers, in addition to local business owners, who felt this was a key turning point for the economy and business climate of the Peoria area.

Construction, which will not start until 2016 at the earliest, is expected to take the better part of a decade.

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