Caterpillar reports 45 pct profit drop, lowers guidance

New York, Apr 22 (EFE).- Heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said Monday it earned a net profit of $880 million in the first quarter, down 45 percent from the same period in 2012, when it posted a net profit of $1.58 billion.

Revenues totaled $13.21 billion in the period, down 17 percent from the $15.98 billion in sales posted in the first quarter of 2012, Caterpillar said in a statement.

Profit per share in the first quarter came in at $1.31, down from the $2.37 per share in net profit reported during the same period in 2012.

"In our year-end 2012 financial release, we said the first quarter of 2013 would be challenging, and it certainly was," Caterpillar chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman said.

The Peoria, Illinois-based company revised its revenue forecast for 2013 downward to $57 billion to $61 billion, with $7 per share in profit, down from its original outlook of $60 billion to $68 billion in sales and $7 to $9 in profit.

"Considering the magnitude of the decline in sales and production, I am very pleased with our performance in the first quarter. We did a good job managing costs and made even more progress on inventory reduction," Oberhelman said.

The company said it planned to repurchase about $1 billion of its stock in the second quarter.

Caterpillar, one of the 30 components in the Dow Jones industrial average, was up $2.28, or 2.83 percent, to $82.60 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange.