CHICAGO — After Caterpillars heady post- recession expansion, the worlds biggest construction and mining equipment maker will probably forecast the slowest sales growth in four years as its prospects for 2013 fade with the decelerating global economy.
The manufacturer, an economic bellwether, is expected to project next week that revenue will increase 5.1 percent in 2013, according to the average of 17 analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with year-over-year growth of 31 percent in 2010, 41 percent in 2011 and an estimated 13 percent this year.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman has expanded factories and announced deals for about $10.3 billion in the past two years to meet demand from mining companies and North American builders, and to position the company to become the market share leader in China by 2015. His plans have hit a snag on rising machine inventories as the European debt crisis persists and expansion decelerates in emerging markets from China to Brazil. The problem is he was sizing his business model for long-term global growth, Stephen Volkmann, a New York-based analyst at Jefferies & Co., said in an interview last week. It didnt go his way.
The Peoria, Ill.-based company plans to idle some production in its home state for a couple of weeks in the current quarter after shutting a Chinese excavator factory for most of July.