Caterpillar reported all-time record sales, revenues and profit per share in 2012 despite economic uncertainty in the United States, continued economic turmoil in much of Europe and slower growth in China.
Sales and revenues were up 10% from 2011 at $65.9 billion while profit was up 15% to $5.7 billion. However, fourth-quarter 2012 sales and revenues were $16.075 billion, down $1.168 billion from $17.243 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Fourth-quarter 2012 profit was $697 million compared with $1.547 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. Fourth-quarter 2012 profit was negatively impacted in large part to a charge of $580 million arising from accounting fraud at the group’s new Chinese unit Siwei.
Lower sales and revenues and the cost impact from sharply lower production and the $2 billion decline in Caterpillar inventory also had a negative impact on fourth-quarter profit. Caterpillar's results are watched closely because they are considered an indicator of industrial activity and the health of the overall economy.