January 26, 2009

Caterpillar to cut 19,500 positions

Heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said it would cut 19,500 jobs after fourth quarter profits fell 32 percent compared to a year ago.

Caterpillar's profits dropped to $661 million or $1.08 per diluted share, American City Business Journals reported Monday.

Revenues increased 6.4 percent to $12.9 billion in the fourth quarter, but earnings for the year increased a marginal 0.5 percent over 2007, the company said.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens said the company found demand booming for three quarters of the year. In the final quarter, however, demand whipsawed due to a global economic downturn.

Profits at Caterpillar Financial, the company's financial services subsidiary fell hard in the fourth quarter, dropping to $5 million from $106 million in the same quarter of 2007.