Caterpillar stays healthy in 1Q despite profit drop

Caterpillar Inc. said its first-quarter 2002 revenues topped $4.41 billion with profits totaling $80 million, a big drop from first-quarter 2001 revenues of $4.81 billion and profits of $162 million. However, chairman & CEO Glen Barton said staying profitable in an economic recession is a critical achievement. "These results are in line with our expectations for a slower first half of the year and demonstrate our ability to perform well, even when many of the major industries we serve continue to be depressed," he said, adding that he expects sales and revenues for the rest of 2002 will be about the same as last year, aided by improving global business conditions in the second half of 2002. In terms of engine demand, Peoria, IL-based Caterpillar said worldwide engine sales to end users and OEMs were flat in the first quarter of 2002 compared to the same period in 2001. Sales increases in Asia/Pacific and Latin America were offset by declines in North America, Europe and the Middle East. In North America, demand actually increased for marine and on-highway engines, but that was offset by weaker demand from industrial, petroleum and electric power applications, Barton said.

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