Caterpillar first quarter profit beats Wall Street predictions

PEORIA, Ill., Wed Apr 25, 2012 – Caterpillar Inc. reported a 29 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Wednesday and beat analyst expectations thanks to continued demand for replacement machinery in North America and growth in its mining business.

The world’s largest maker of construction machinery reported net earnings of $1.6 billion, or $2.37 per share, compared with $1.2 billion, or $1.84 per share, a year earlier.

The company said the first quarter earnings per share figure was its highest on record.

Caterpillar’s sales rose 23 percent to $16 billion during the first quarter, the company said.

Analysts on average had projected a profit of $2.13 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue, however, fell short of the $16.2 billion that Wall Street had expected.

In a press release, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said the company was experiencing a “slowing” in China and Brazil as those countries “took steps in 2011 to slow their economies and bring inflation under control.” Strength in the United States was expected to offset that weakness.