Heavy construction equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said Friday its fourth-quarter profit edged up 4 percent as higher operating costs partially offset strong sales.
Net income grew to $882 million (euro683.67 million), or $1.32 (euro1.02) per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31 from $846 million (euro655.76 million), or $1.20 (euro.93) per share, a year ago, as higher prices and sales volume more than offset a rise in core operating costs.
Revenue rose 14 percent to $11 billion (euro8.53 billion) from $9.66 billion (euro7.49 billion).
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings per share of $1.34 (euro1.04) on $10.5 billion (euro8.14 billion) in revenue.
"I'm anticipating great things for Caterpillar in 2007. Despite a sharp decline in two key North American industries _ on-highway truck engines and U.S. housing _ and an expected reduction in dealer inventories, we are projecting another record year in 2007," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens. "We expect to improve profit per share at a higher rate than sales and revenue, and that means a key focus in 2007 will be cost management."
The company said it expects earnings per share to grow to $5.20 (euro4.03) to $5.70 (euro4.42) per share from $5.17 (euro4.01) a share in 2006. It expects revenue to rise to between $41.5 billion (euro32.17 billion) and $43.6 billion (euro33.8 billion) in 2007 from $41.52 billion (euro32.18 billion) reported for 2006.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expect 2007 earnings per share of $5.54 (euro4.29) on revenue of $41.06 billion (euro31.83 billion).