$1.7 billion. That’s how much profit Caterpillar reported for the quarter ended June 30, the company reported on Wednesday.
Last year’s acquisition of mining equipment maker Bucyrus International, of South Milwaukee, and engine maker MWM Holding GmbH provided a $1.37 billion boost to sales during the quarter.
Caterpillar is the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, and its results are watched closely because they are considered an indicator of industrial activity and the health of the overall economy.
The company’s success this year is occurring even as U.S. construction activity remains depressed and well below the prior peak, and amid problems facing Europe and economic concerns in China, CEO Doug Oberhelman said in a statement.
“The good news is this doesn’t feel like 2008. Interest rates are low, central banks are prepared to inject more liquidity if needed, and housing is coming off lows, not a peak, and seems to be improving,” Oberhelman said.
Of course, word of the huge profits comes amid the ongoing strike in Peoria, Ill., where Caterpillar is seeking significant concessions from workers even during these boom times. WUWM, a National Public Radio station, tackled that issue in a piece this week, following up on a New York Times story published on Monday.
From the story:
At the Caterpillar factory in South Milwaukee, workers are wondering about the implications of the Joliet dispute on their contract. It’s up for renewal next spring.
Barry Lewis is a gear cutter at the plant, and vice president of United Steel Workers, Local 1343.
“Some people are very worried. We’re not sure how it equates to us, I mean, we’re aware that they’re United Auto Workers, we’re Steel Workers. The product lines are completely different,” Lewis says.