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Caterpillar Inc. Is Down, But Still Profitable

By Motley Fool Staff - May 2, 2016 at 3:13PM

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Caterpillar's recent earnings were a reflection of the tough times for industrial equipment companies, but there were some reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Caterpillar (CAT -0.83%) reported first-quarter earnings recently, and while they saw a slight decrease in revenue from last year, the company is still profitable. 

In this segment from the Industry Focus: Energy podcast, Sean O'Reilly and Tyler Crowe explain what factors saved the company from the crash that spelled devastation for so many other companies that were as tied to energy as Caterpillar was during the past few years.

A full transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on April 22, 2016. 

Sean O'Reilly: What did you think about Caterpillar's results? They are obviously very tied to the mining industry. The results weren't that bad, though. They had quarterly revenues of $643 million, down 7% compared to the same period last year. That isn't complete devastation. They're still profitable.

Tyler Crowe: Yeah, they're still profitable. It's just that if you look at the numbers for everything Caterpillar, I don't want to say hanging on by the skin of their teeth. That might be a little too far of it, but if you look at anything when it comes to mining or energy and materials for them, it's just getting absolutely hammered. There are a couple saviors for them. They have their financing arm, which has seen some only modest declines because you have people paying off equipment. One of the things that was mentioned in their release from their CEO was that "We think we're pretty close to the bottom here. Would not be surprising if things were to decline a little bit more. We don't think we're going to see much larger declines from where we are right now. We feel like we have made the adjustments to our cost structure that we can handle being today."

If you look at the final results, they still remained modestly profitable. Cash is coming in the door -- not a lot, but enough that you don't have to hit the panic button yet. We're looking at a company like Caterpillar. Their pricing stayed relatively well because they have branding power. They have a certain level of trust when somebody is going to buy a six-, seven-figure piece of equipment you want quality, you want something you can depend on, you want a company that's going to be around to fix it. With something like that, Caterpillar certainly has those advantages. It's looking much better than it has in the past 12 months.

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