Full-year profit was US$1.26 per share in 2017, compared with a loss of US$0.11 per share in 2016. Adjusted profit per share in 2017 was US$6.88, compared with 2016 adjusted profit per share of US$3.42.
“After four challenging years, many key markets improved in 2017, and our global team delivered strong results,” said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. “We remained focused on operational excellence and made early investments in profitable growth initiatives as we began to implement our new strategy.”
In construction the company expects growth in 2018 with some tempering in the latter part of the year, largely due to anticipated seasonality of sales in China. Caterpillar expects improvement in North American residential, non-residential and infrastructure. The outlook does not include any impact from a potential US infrastructure bill. Europe and Asia/Pacific are expected to continue to grow, and the recovery that started in Africa/Middle East and Latin America is expected to extend into 2018.
Fourth-quarter sales and revenues had risen by 35%, through include a charge of US$2.4bn from US tax reform legislation. Sales and revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017 were US$12.9bn, compared with US$9.6bn in the fourth quarter of 2016. The fourth-quarter 2017 loss was US$2.18 per share, compared with a loss of US$2.00 per share in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Adjusted profit per share in the fourth quarter of 2017 was US$2.16, compared with fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted profit per share of US$0.83. Caterpillar said that it is beginning 2018 with strong sales momentum resulting from strong order rates, lean dealer inventories and an increasing backlog. In addition, there are positive economic indicators across most of the world and in many of the company’s end markets, it said. “Caterpillar is preparing its factories and suppliers to be ready for continued growth, while remaining focused on managing with a flexible and competitive cost structure that should enable the company to respond quickly if economic fundamentals change,” the company added.
"We are in the early stages of implementing our strategy for profitable growth,” said Umpleby. “In 2018, we expect to make additional investments in the expanded offerings and services important for Caterpillar’s long-term success. We will use our Operating & Execution Model to bias resources to areas that represent the greatest opportunity for return on our investments.
“Our focus on operational excellence will not waver as we work to develop a more competitive and flexible cost structure, including implementing lean manufacturing principles. We are positioned to capitalise on continued sales momentum or quickly adjust should conditions change.”