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Caterpillar sees profit jump, warns of supply chain stress

·1-min read
Caterpillar avoided a full-year forecast, saying there were still too many uncertainties with the Covid-19 pandemic and supply chain pressures

Caterpillar reported strong profits Thursday but highlighted potential supply chain problems as a risk and said there were still too many uncertainties to provide a full-year profit forecast.

The industrial giant scored better-than-expected results in the first quarter, highlighting strong construction industry demand, especially in China.

Executives also said they were bullish on the resources segment due to greater need for metals for electric cars and other items seeing increased demand. Caterpillar manufactures machinery for the construction, resource and energy industries.

"There are positive signs in a number of our end markets," said Chief Executive Jim Umpleby, who added that the company is monitoring the ongoing shortage of semiconductors, as well as raw materials.

"Our team has been developing contingency plans, including workarounds in our factories that may lead to increased costs," Umpleby said on a conference call with analysts.

"We're working very hard to avoid or minimize having supply chain issues lead to production shortfalls that might impact our ability to fully meet improving customer demand."

Caterpillar reported first-quarter earnings of $1.5 billion, up 40.1 percent from the year-ago period.

Revenues increased 11.8 percent to $11.9 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Andrew Bonfield said the company's decision not to provide a full-year forecast reflected the "fluid" state of supply chains, material cost pressures "and pandemic-related concerns, areas where we have varying levels of control."

Shares fell 2.8 percent to $225.74 in morning trading.

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