Market Overview

Caterpillar Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2017 Results; Provides Outlook for 2018

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Improving End Markets and Continued Focus on Operational Performance Drive Strong Quarter and Year

DEERFIELD, Ill., Jan. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- 



Fourth Quarter


Full Year










($ in billions except profit per share)


2017


2016


2017


2016










Sales and Revenues


$12.9


$9.6


$45.5


$38.5



















Profit (Loss) Per Share


($2.18)


($2.00)


$1.26


($0.11)



















Adjusted Profit Per Share


$2.16


$0.83


$6.88


$3.42

  • Fourth-quarter sales and revenues up 35 percent
  • Broad-based sales recovery gained momentum in the fourth quarter of 2017
  • Fourth-quarter 2017 results include a charge of $2.4 billion, or $3.91 per share, from U.S. tax reform legislation
  • Expect growth in many end markets in 2018
  • Implementing new strategy focused on operational excellence and profitable growth

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) today announced fourth-quarter and full-year results for 2017.

Sales and revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017 were $12.9 billion, compared with $9.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. Fourth-quarter 2017 loss was $2.18 per share, compared with a loss of $2.00 per share in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Full-year sales and revenues in 2017 were $45.5 billion, up about 18 percent from $38.5 billion in 2016. Full-year profit was $1.26 per share in 2017, compared with a loss of $0.11 per share in 2016.

Adjusted profit per share in the fourth quarter of 2017 was $2.16, compared with fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted profit per share of $0.83. Adjusted profit per share in 2017 was $6.88, compared with 2016 adjusted profit per share of $3.42.

Adjusted profit per share excludes several large adjustments consisting of the impact of U.S. tax reform, restructuring costs, mark-to-market losses for remeasurement of pension and OPEB plans, state deferred tax valuation allowance adjustments, a gain on sale of an equity investment in 2017 and a goodwill impairment charge in 2016. A discussion of these items is included in Q&A #1 on page 14.

Caterpillar's financial position continued to strengthen in the fourth quarter. Machinery, Energy & Transportation (ME&T) operating cash flow was $1.3 billion during the fourth quarter of 2017 and $5.5 billion for the full year of 2017. The ME&T debt-to-capital ratio was 36.7 percent at the end of 2017, compared to 41.0 percent at the end of 2016. The company ended 2017 with an enterprise cash balance of $8.3 billion. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company made a discretionary contribution to U.S. pension plans of $1.0 billion and a payment for early debt retirement of $958 million.

"After four challenging years, many key markets improved in 2017, and our global team delivered strong results. We remained focused on operational excellence and made early investments in profitable growth initiatives as we began to implement our new strategy," said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby.

2018 Outlook

Caterpillar is beginning 2018 with strong sales momentum resulting from strong order rates, lean dealer inventories and an increasing backlog. Additionally, there are positive economic indicators across most of the world and in many of the company's end markets. 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 expects 2018 profit per share in a range of $7.75 to $8.75. Excluding restructuring costs of about $400 million, adjusted profit per share is expected in a range of $8.25 to $9.25.

"We are in the early stages of implementing our strategy for profitable growth. 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," said Umpleby.

"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 capitalize on continued sales momentum or quickly adjust should conditions change," added Umpleby.

Following is a summary of the key drivers of sales assumptions included in the outlook:

Construction Industries – 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 U.S. 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.

Resource Industries – The company believes that global economic momentum and increasing commodity prices are restoring miners' business confidence and financial health. The company anticipates miners' capital spend to increase as mining businesses invest in equipment replacement cycles. Higher machine utilization levels should support continued strong aftermarket parts opportunities. Strong global demand is expected to be a positive for heavy construction.

Energy & Transportation – Sales into Oil and Gas applications are expected to increase in 2018, led by reciprocating engines for gas compression and well servicing in North America. The current turbines backlog is healthy in support of the midstream pipeline business. The company expects an increase in Transportation primarily from recent acquisitions in rail services, while the locomotive and marine markets are expected to remain challenged. Power Generation sales are forecast to be slightly up after a multi-year downturn. Sales into Industrial applications are expected to be about flat.

Following are key points to help understand the elements of the 2018 profit outlook:

  • An expected increase in sales volume is the most significant reason for the higher profit outlook, with volume increases forecasted across the three primary segments.
  • Slightly favorable price realization is expected to be mostly offset by material cost increases due to higher commodity prices.
  • Period costs excluding short-term incentive compensation expense are expected to increase due to labor inflation and targeted investments in profitable growth initiatives, including expanded offerings and services.
  • The outlook includes short-term incentive compensation expense of about $900 million.
  • Financial Products' segment profit is expected to be lower in 2018 than in 2017, primarily due to the absence of about $100 million of gains on sales of securities in 2017.
  • The outlook assumes a tax rate of 24 percent, including the company's current estimate of the impact of U.S. tax reform legislation.
  • ME&T capital expenditures are expected to be about $1.0 billion to $1.5 billion.
  • No stock repurchases are assumed in the outlook.
  • The outlook does not include a mark-to-market gain or loss for remeasurement of pension and OPEB plans or changes to provisional estimates recorded in 2017 for U.S. tax reform.

Notes:

  • Glossary of terms is included on pages 17-18; first occurrence of terms shown in bold italics.
  • Information on non-GAAP financial measures is included on page 19.
  • Caterpillar will conduct a teleconference and live webcast, with a slide presentation, beginning at 10 a.m. Central Time on Thursday, January 25, 2018, to discuss its 2017 fourth-quarter and full-year financial results. The accompanying slides will be available before the webcast on the Caterpillar website at http://www.caterpillar.com/investors/events-and-presentations.

About Caterpillar:
For more than 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2017 sales and revenues of $45.462 billion, Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three primary segments - Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release relate to future events and expectations and are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "believe," "estimate," "will be," "will," "would," "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "project," "intend," "could," "should" or other similar words or expressions often identify forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding our outlook, projections, forecasts or trend descriptions. These statements do not guarantee future performance and speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements.

Caterpillar's actual results may differ materially from those described or implied in our forward-looking statements based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: (i) global and regional economic conditions and economic conditions in the industries we serve; (ii) commodity price changes, material price increases, fluctuations in demand for our products or significant shortages of material; (iii) government monetary or fiscal policies; (iv) political and economic risks, commercial instability and events beyond our control in the countries in which we operate; (v) our ability to develop, produce and market quality products that meet our customers' needs; (vi) the impact of the highly competitive environment in which we operate on our sales and pricing; (vii) information technology security threats and computer crime; (viii) additional restructuring costs or a failure to realize anticipated savings or benefits from past or future cost reduction actions; (ix) failure to realize all of the anticipated benefits from initiatives to increase our productivity, efficiency and cash flow and to reduce costs; (x) inventory management decisions and sourcing practices of our dealers and our OEM customers; (xi) a failure to realize, or a delay in realizing, all of the anticipated benefits of our acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; (xii) union disputes or other employee relations issues; (xiii) adverse effects of unexpected events including natural disasters; (xiv) disruptions or volatility in global financial markets limiting our sources of liquidity or the liquidity of our customers, dealers and suppliers; (xv) failure to maintain our credit ratings and potential resulting increases to our cost of borrowing and adverse effects on our cost of funds, liquidity, competitive position and access to capital markets; (xvi) our Financial Products segment's risks associated with the financial services industry; (xvii) changes in interest rates or market liquidity conditions; (xviii) an increase in delinquencies, repossessions or net losses of Cat Financial's customers; (xix) currency fluctuations; (xx) our or Cat Financial's compliance with financial and other restrictive covenants in debt agreements; (xxi) increased pension plan funding obligations; (xxii) alleged or actual violations of trade or anti-corruption laws and regulations; (xxiii) international trade policies and their impact on demand for our products and our competitive position; (xxiv) additional tax expense or exposure, including the impact of U.S. tax reform; (xxv) significant legal proceedings, claims, lawsuits or government investigations; (xxvi) new regulations or changes in financial services regulations; (xxvii) compliance with environmental laws and regulations; and (xxviii) other factors described in more detail in Caterpillar's Forms 10-Q, 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONSOLIDATED RESULTS

Consolidated Sales and Revenues

Consolidated Sales and Revenues Comparison
Fourth Quarter 2017 vs. Fourth Quarter 2016

To access this chart, go to http://www.caterpillar.com/en/investors/quarterly-results.html for the downloadable version of Caterpillar 4Q 2017 earnings.

The chart above graphically illustrates reasons for the change in Consolidated Sales and Revenues between the fourth quarter of 2016 (at left) and the fourth quarter of 2017 (at right). Items favorably impacting sales and revenues appear as upward stair steps with the corresponding dollar amounts above each bar, while items negatively impacting sales and revenues appear as downward stair steps with dollar amounts reflected in parentheses above each bar. Caterpillar management utilizes these charts internally to visually communicate with the company's board of directors and employees.

Sales and Revenues

Total sales and revenues were $12.896 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $3.322 billion, or 35 percent, compared with $9.574 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase was primarily due to higher sales volume, mostly due to improved end-user demand. In addition, favorable changes in dealer inventories contributed to increased sales volume. The improvement in end-user demand was across all regions and most end markets. The favorable change in dealer inventories was primarily due to a decrease in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to dealer inventories that were about flat in the fourth quarter of 2017. By segment, the largest sales volume increase was in Construction Industries, mostly due to higher end-user demand for construction equipment and the favorable impact of changes in dealer inventories. Energy & Transportation's sales volume increased due to higher demand across all applications. Sales volume for Resource Industries increased due to higher end-user demand for equipment and aftermarket parts. Favorable price realization, primarily in Construction Industries and Resource Industries, also contributed to the sales improvement. Financial Products' revenues were about flat.

Sales increased across all regions with the largest increase in North America. Sales improved 46 percent in North America primarily due to higher end-user demand for both equipment and aftermarket parts. Changes in dealer inventories were favorable as dealer inventories decreased in the fourth quarter of 2016 and increased slightly in the fourth quarter of 2017. EAME sales increased 38 percent primarily due to higher end-user demand for equipment and favorable price realization. Asia/Pacific sales increased 22 percent primarily due to higher end-user demand for construction equipment. About half of the sales improvement in Asia/Pacific was in China resulting from increased building construction and infrastructure investment. Sales increased 39 percent in Latin America due to stabilizing economic conditions in several countries in the region that resulted in improved end-user demand from low levels, as well as favorable changes in dealer inventories.

Consolidated Operating Profit (Loss)

Consolidated Operating Profit Comparison
Fourth Quarter 2017 vs. Fourth Quarter 2016

To access this chart, go to http://www.caterpillar.com/en/investors/quarterly-results.html for the downloadable version of Caterpillar 4Q 2017 earnings.

The chart above graphically illustrates reasons for the change in Consolidated Operating Profit (Loss) between the fourth quarter of 2016 (at left) and the fourth quarter of 2017 (at right). Items favorably impacting operating profit appear as upward stair steps with the corresponding dollar amounts above each bar, while items negatively impacting operating profit appear as downward stair steps with dollar amounts reflected in parentheses above each bar. Caterpillar management utilizes these charts internally to visually communicate with the company's board of directors and employees. The bar entitled Other includes consolidating adjustments and Machinery, Energy & Transportation other operating (income) expenses.

Operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $1.161 billion, compared with a loss of $1.262 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase of $2.423 billion was due to higher sales volume, a decrease in mark-to-market losses related to pension and OPEB plans and the absence of a goodwill impairment charge in Resource Industries in 2016. Favorable price realization, lower variable manufacturing costs and lower restructuring costs were mostly offset by higher period costs. Price realization was favorable, primarily in Construction Industries and Resource Industries.

Variable manufacturing costs were lower primarily due to the favorable impact from cost absorption and lower warranty expense. Cost absorption was favorable as inventory was about flat in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a reduction in inventory in the fourth quarter of 2016. Material costs were slightly unfavorable due to increases in steel prices. Period costs were higher primarily due to higher short-term incentive compensation expense. Also contributing to increased period costs were targeted investments and higher manufacturing costs to support higher production volumes, partially offset by lower depreciation expense.

Restructuring costs were $245 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with $395 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Other Profit/Loss Items

  • Interest expense excluding Financial Products in the fourth quarter of 2017 was $169 million, an increase of $49 million from the fourth quarter of 2016, primarily due to an early debt retirement.
  • Other income/expense in the fourth quarter of 2017 was income of $119 million, compared with income of $34 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The favorable change was primarily a result of gains on the sale of securities.
  • The provision for income taxes in the fourth quarter reflects an annual effective tax rate of approximately 28 percent, compared to approximately 36 percent for the full year of 2016, excluding the items discussed below. The effective tax rate related to 2017 full-year adjusted profit before tax, excluding a discrete benefit from stock-based compensation awards, was 27 percent, compared to 26 percent in 2016.

The provision for income taxes in the fourth quarter of 2017 also includes a charge of $2.371 billion due to the enactment of U.S. tax reform legislation on December 22, 2017. The provisionally estimated charge includes a $596 million write-down of net deferred tax assets to reflect the reduction in the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning January 1, 2018, with the remainder primarily related to the cost of a mandatory deemed repatriation of non-U.S. earnings. Three items partially offset this charge:

  • A $130 million benefit related to the change from the third-quarter estimated annual tax rate of 32 percent to approximately 28 percent for the full year of 2017, primarily due to a more favorable geographic mix of profits from a tax perspective, including the impact of U.S. pension and OPEB mark-to-market losses taxed at higher U.S. rates.
  • A non-cash benefit of $111 million, net of U.S. federal tax at 35 percent, from reductions in the valuation allowance against U.S. state deferred tax assets due to improved profits in the United States.
  • A tax benefit of $19 million for the settlement of stock-based compensation awards with associated tax deductions in excess of cumulative U.S. GAAP compensation expense.

The provision for income taxes in the fourth quarter of 2016 also included a charge of $170 million related to the change from the third quarter of 2016 estimated annual tax rate. In addition, the valuation allowance against U.S. state deferred tax assets was increased in 2016, resulting in a $141 million non-cash charge, net of U.S. federal tax at 35 percent.

Global Workforce

Caterpillar worldwide, full-time employment was about 98,400 at the end of 2017, an increase of about 3,000 full-time employees from the end of 2016, primarily the result of higher production volumes. The flexible workforce increased by about 7,300, also primarily due to higher production volumes. In total, the global workforce increased by about 10,300.



December 31



2017


2016


Increase/

(Decrease)

Full-time employment


98,400


95,400


3,000

Flexible workforce


18,300


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