Sept. 15--The steep uptick in Caterpillar Inc. equipment sales since the end of a historic downturn in 2016 still has significant room to grow in at least some business segments and geographic regions.
For mining equipment in particular, the recovery is still only beginning, the company's director of investor relations told analysts Friday at the Morgan Stanley Laguna Conference in Dana Point, Calif.
"Our end markets across the globe are really diverse; you could say all of them have room to grow, but some of them are farther along than others," Amy Campbell said. "We think (mining equipment sales are) very early in that cycle. ... We think that's early days of that recovery."
Retail sales of Caterpillar machinery around the globe for the three-month period ending in August rose 23 percent over the same period last year, according to a report filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
That result maintained a roughly 25 percent growth rate for the last several consecutive monthly retail sales reports, although it included one significant shift in regional dynamics.
The August report showed the machinery sale growth rate in North America at 29 percent surpassed the Asia and Pacific region, which had a 28 percent sales growth rate.
The machinery market in China was one of the few bright spots in Cat's sales reports throughout the unprecedented downturn from 2012 through 2016 and remains a significant source of revenue.
Tom Pellette, Caterpillar's group president for its construction industries segment, said China will retain its prominence for the company despite ongoing trade tensions with the U.S.
"The engines for growth for construction really have been China and North America," he said Friday at the Morgan Stanley conference.
Caterpillar posted about $45.5 billion in sales in 2017, a roughly 18 percent increase from 2016 revenue. Sales in 2016, however, were more than 40 percent below the company's peak a few years earlier.
Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JournoBuedel.
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