Caterpillar Looks To 2012 Record

By WEEK Producer

Caterpillar Looks To 2012 Record

March 20, 2012 Updated Mar 21, 2012 at 9:09 AM CDT

Peoria - (CNBC)   Caterpillar will have another record year in 2012, says its Chairman and CEO Douglas Oberhelman.

Growth will come from the company’s new markets such as Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and China, Oberhelman told CNBC in Beijing.

“Europe is a little slow right now but I would see a lot of opportunity as it recovers. The eastern part of Europe and the Middle East really have a lot of potential,” Oberhelman said on Tuesday. “I am still pretty optimistic about 2012. It will be another record year.”

He added that they were looking at the China market for the long term. “We look at China as a long-term market here,” he said, “It’s the largest construction equipment market in the world today. We want to be here in a bigger way and of course we are investing a lot of time for what would be a 20- or 30-year run.”

When Caterpillar reported 2011 earnings in January it forecast a profit rise of 25 percent to $9.25 a share and revenue increase between 30 percent and 19 percent. The company will invest about $4 billion on capital expenditures in 2012, compared with $2.6 billion in 2011.

But, shares of Caterpillar Inc. fell more than 2 percent Tuesday after the heavy equipment maker said the pace of its retail machine sales has slowed in recent months.

The company said U.S. retail machine sales rose 51 percent in the month ended Dec. 11, compared to the year before. But by mid-January sales were up 47 percent from 2011 and in mid-February the rise had slowed to 39 percent.

The trend extended across Caterpillar's global operations. In the Asia/Pacific region, year-over-year growth slowed from 31 percent in December to 20 percent in February.