Caterpillar 4th-quarter profit rises

/ Source: The Associated Press

Caterpillar Inc., one of the world's largest construction equipment makers, said Friday its fourth-quarter earnings rose 11 percent on strong international growth.

The company said it expects overseas sales to drive solid profit growth this year as well, with the United States teetering on recession.

The results pushed Caterpillar shares modestly up in pre-market trading.

The company earned $975 million, or $1.50 per share, compared with $882 million, or $1.32 per share a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $12.14 billion from $11 billion in the prior-year period.

Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.50 per share on revenue of $11.79 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Caterpillar Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens said strong economic growth outside the United States offset weakness in the domestic market.

"Global markets for mining, energy and infrastructure development are booming," he said in a statement.

The company still expects profit to grow by 5 percent to 15 percent in 2008, and sees revenue rising 5 percent to 10 percent year-over-year. The prediction implies 2008 profit of $5.64 to $6.18 per share on revenue of $44.06 billion to $46.16 billion.

"While we expect anemic growth in the U.S. economy, we continue to see positive conditions for our sales in most of the rest of the world," Owens said.

Caterpillar said its full-year profit was $5.37 a share, up 4 percent from 2006. Revenue was $44.96 billion, an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

Analysts had expected income of $5.36 per share on revenue of $44.54 billion.