Caterpillar Earnings Cheat Sheet: Sales Catapult 57% Higher

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the first quarter. Caterpillar Inc. offers construction and mining equipment as well as diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines.

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Caterpillar Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Net income for the farm and construction machinery company rose to $1.23 billion ($1.84/share) vs. $233 million (36 cents/share) in the same quarter a year earlier. A substantial increase from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 57.2% to $12.95 billion YoY.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: CAT beat the mean analyst estimate of $1.31/share. Estimates ranged from $1.11 per share to $1.52 per share.

Quoting Management: “I am very pleased with our first-quarter results—demand continued to improve, we increased production, cost control was excellent, and our operating profit margin improved. We generated more than $1.6 billion of operating cash flow from our Machinery and Power Systems (M&PS) businesses, an increase of more than 50 percent, and our debt-to-capital ratio dropped more than four percentage points from year-end 2010,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman. “We have the right strategy, and it’s squarely focused on helping our customers win. Our new organization is in place, is focused on execution and is getting the job done. Given the scale of the volume ramp-up over the past year we also need to recognize the tremendous job that our suppliers and dealers have done to support us and our customers,” added Oberhelman.

Key Stats: Last quarter marked the fifth consecutive quarter of gross margins expanding as the company’s gross margin expanded 1.6 percentage points to 30.1% from the year earlier quarter. Over that span, margins have grown on average 2.2 percentage points per quarter on a year-over-year basis.

Over the last five quarters, revenue has increased 38.3% on average year over year. The biggest increase came in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, when revenue rose 62.2% from the year earlier quarter.

Competitors to Watch: Deere & Company (NYSE:DE), General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), Astec Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTE), Columbus McKinnon Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCO), Manitowoc Company, Inc. (NYSE:MTW), Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI), CNH Global N.V. (NYSE:CNH), Navistar Intl. Corp. (NYSE:NAV), Terex Corporation (NYSE:TEX), and Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN).

Today’s Performance: Shares of CAT are trading at $115.32 as of April 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM ET, up over 2% from the previous close.

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