Caterpillar shares climb after sales rise amid US construction fightback
The US parent company of generator maker Caterpillar NI has reported a 27% jump in US sales for the third quarter of the year.
Shares in equipment giant Caterpillar rose 7% in early trading following the better-than-expected performance, which analysts said reflected improvements in the North American construction industry.
Third quarter sales were up more than $2bn to $11.4bn.
Caterpillar, which employs around 1,600 people in Larne, reported a 31% increase in construction revenue to $2.17bn - the segment with the largest sales volume increase.
It employs around 115,000 people globally, including its flexible workforce.
The US firm also raised its full-year forecasts for sales and earnings, predicting that revenue from construction would soar by around one-fifth, and sales from mining by 30%.
The full-year 2017 sales and revenues outlook was increased to $44bn - up from an earlier forecast of $42bn, with a mid-point of $43bn.
Last year, the company record sales and revenues of $38.5bn.
Chief executive Jim Umpleby said: "Higher sales volume and our team's focus on cost discipline resulted in improved profit margins across our three primary segments.
"As a result of our team's strong performance, we are raising our 2017 profit outlook.
"We are executing our new strategy for profitable growth based on operational excellence, expanded offerings and services."
As well as improvements in construction in North America, the company said that its sales growth was also down to strong markets in other industries and regions - including construction in China and on-shore oil and gas in North America. Sales also rose 24% in Latin America.
The company is currently working with businesses in its supply chain to up production to meet customer demand in improving markets.
Caterpillar recorded a visit to the White House by one of its key machinery products as a highlight of the year.
President Donald Trump hosted a Made in America event in July to show off US-made products.
Caterpillar was Illinois' sole representative at the event, bringing one of its yellow, earth-moving loaders to the South Lawn of the White House.
Earlier this month, accounts for 2016 for Caterpillar (NI) showed sales fell from £537m to £455m in the year to December 31, 2016.
Overall sales to the UK by Caterpillar (NI) fell from £104m to £74m in the last year.
But it was sales to the rest of Europe that took the biggest hit, dropping by almost half, from £261m to £133m.
However, sales outside of Europe increased from £171m to £247m.
The global business, which has a manufacturing base and offices in west Belfast as well as its Larne base, is selling off a three-storey building at its Springvale site for approximately £475,000.