Caterpillar profit tumbles with world economy on lockdown

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FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo a worker prepares a piece of Cat construction equipment made by Caterpillar to be lifted off a trailer at the Port of Tacoma in Tacoma, Wash. Caterpillar Inc. reports financial results Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Caterpillar's profits are down 46% with much of the global economy seized by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has already withdrawn all financial guidance and said Tuesday that it expects that the outbreak will skew its performance throughout the year.

The heavy mining and construction equipment builder has been deemed essential by a number of central governments in maintaining infrastructure, and it's implemented new safety protocols to continue operations.

About 75% of its primary production facilities continue to operate as of mid-April.

Caterpillar Inc. earned $1.09 billion, or $1.98 per share, for the three months ended March 31. A year earlier it earned $1.88 billion, or $3.25 per share.

Stripping out a pension obligation-related item, earnings were $1.60 per share.

That's below the $1.69 per share analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted.

Revenue fell to $10.64 billion from $13.47 billion.

Caterpillar, based in Deerfield, Illinois, has lowered costs by reducing discretionary expenses and suspending 2020 base salary increases and short-term incentive compensation plans for many employees and all senior executives.

Shares rose slightly before the opening bell Tuesday.