Caterpillar posts record earnings

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Mining equipment maker Caterpillar has exceeded market expectations and posted record earnings for its fourth quarter.

For the three months ending December 31 Caterpillar posted earnings of $1.55 billion, up 60 per cent from the $968 million it recorded last year.

The data leveled at a profit of $2.32 per share, up significantly from the expected $1.73 reported by a Thompson Reuters analyst poll.

Much of the company’s strong performance was linked to rising demand from the resources sector, with strong commodity prices boosting growth.

Caterpillar’s operations in China also rose, with excavator volumes in China hitting a record market share of nine per cent in December.

Sales in the resources sector rose 80 per cent to $5.07 billion, with the company’s acquisition of Bucyrus contributing heavily.

Sales for the construction industry also increased 31 per cent to $5.36 billion.

Caterpillar CEO Douglas Olberhelman said the increase in sales and revenues in 2011 was the largest increase since 1947.

He said much of the growth was driven by rising demand for products and services outside the United States.

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