Caterpillar Raises Share Outlook, but Revenues Fall
Construction equipment giant Caterpillar has announced a 12 cent rise year-on-year in earnings per share to $1.57 for the second quarter of 2014, but also lowered the outlook for 2014 sales and revenues from $56m to $54-56m, citing weaker sales in China, the CIS and in the Africa/Middle East region.
The second quarter of 2014 included a negative impact of $0.12 per share for previously announced restructuring activities. Excluding restructuring costs, profit per share was $1.69.
Caterpillar increased its profit per share outlook to $5.75 per share, including the restructuring costs of about $400 million, up from the previous outlook of $5.55 per share.
Second-quarter 2014 sales and revenues fell 3.2 percent from $14.621 billion to $14.150 billion. Caterpillar attributed the decline to weakness in its resources business, where sales fell 29 percent due to lower demand for mining equipment.
The construction side of the business fared much better, with sales up 11 percent and profits up considerably to 83 percent. Energy & Transportation reported “record profits”.
Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman said: “We’re pleased with our second-quarter results, particularly the improvement in profit. We increased the bottom line despite a weak quarter for our Resource Industries segment, which is principally mining.
“Three key things are contributing to the continuing strength of our financial results—the diversity of our businesses, substantial success in operational improvements through the execution of our strategy and the strength of our cash flow and balance sheet.
“We understand that we don’t control the economy or the timing of a turnaround in mining. That’s why we’ve been so focused on executing our strategy and improving our operational performance, which have helped us control costs with year-to-date manufacturing costs and SG&A and R&D expenses improving nearly $500 million.
“We’ve also improved our balance sheet and cash flow over the past few years, and that’s contributed to our ability to return value to our stockholders—including today’s announcement that we intend to repurchase $2.5 billion of Caterpillar stock in the third quarter.”
Caterpillar also announced its intention to repurchase approximately $2.5 billion of Caterpillar common stock during the third quarter of 2014 as part of the $10 billion stock repurchase authorisation previously approved by the Board of Directors in the first quarter of 2014.
The $2.5 billion repurchase expected in the third quarter is in addition to the approximately $1.7 billion that was repurchased by the company in the first quarter of 2014.
How could drones be used in the construction industry?
The use of drones and drone technology including artificial intelligence in several industries has become increasingly popular in recent years. Whether it’s for security purposes or even a bit of fun, drones are a convenient way of monitoring situations from above. So, could this be beneficial to the construction industry? In short, yes, and here are some of the ways the industry can use them.
Whenever a construction project is complete, it’s always important to take images of it looking its best so that the project itself or even a business can be promoted. With drones, the ability to record aerial footage and take photos from the sky adds a new dimension to displaying a construction project. A drone, provided it specced correctly, can capture video and photos in 4K HD from unique angles and provide an interesting perspective on a building project. A drone could be particularly useful to estate agents who are looking to show properties that they are trying to sell.
Occasionally surveyors need to laser scan parts of a building for planning and design reasons. This can be particularly challenging when trying to scan higher parts of a building due to not having a laser scanning tool that can reach. However, laser scanning capabilities in drones mean that they are able to capture things like the exact detail of topography and buildings while also having the ability to point cloud scan, which was previously difficult due to the restricted access of high points on buildings.
In construction, there are often times when a high level of risk is involved. This usually means have to complete certain tasks virtually. Drones can help workers do this through the use of their First Person View (FPV) technology. With this, a drone can stream HD footage to the project team and provide them with a live view of what it is seeing. This can be enhanced further with Virtual Reality (VR) glasses.
Activities on-site don’t always go as planned and if it’s a large site, it can especially difficult for managers and other interested personnel to determine the location of their workers, tools, and vehicles. Thanks to a drone’s ability to be operated remotely, they can provide managers with a birds-eye view of the whole site, as it flies around to each individual area. That way, they can gain a better understanding and awareness of exactly where everything is.
Drones, therefore, have many uses for the construction industry from security to locating specific tools or vehicles, to laser-scanning features, all in 4K HD video. Maybe drones will become the future of not just the construction industry but many others, too.