US construction machinery manufacturer Caterpillar has reported a big surge in sales for the first time in four years on the back of the booming world economy.
Global sales grew 35% overall in the fourth quarter of 2017, with the biggest regional increase, 46%, seen in North America.
Sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East grew 38%, while Latin America saw an increase of 39%, and Asia-Pacific 22%.
Total Q4 sales and revenues were $12.89bn, an increase of $3.32bn, or 35%, compared with $9.57bn in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Operating profit for Q4 was $1.16bn, compared with a loss of $1.26bn in Q4 2016.
However, Caterpillar reported a loss of $2.2bn in the last quarter, after adjustments, due to a one-off charge of $2.4bn, or $3.91 per share, as a result of president Trump’s tax reform legislation.
Although the cut in corporation tax will benefit companies in the long run, changes in the way assets are taxed means many face a big short-term hit. Companies are also facing a mandatory repatriation of overseas earnings.
Caterpillar’s sales for the full financial year stood at $45.5bn, compared with $38.5bn in 2016, generating a full-year operating profit of $4.08bn, compared with just $139m in 2016.
“After four challenging years, many key markets improved in 2017, and our global team delivered strong results,” said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby.
“We remained focused on operational excellence and made early investments in profitable growth initiatives as we began to implement our new strategy.”
He added: “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.”
Caterpillar’s share price had fallen 2.5% to $165.18 by noon in New York trading following the results.