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Cat predicting a world of growth

Plant

CATERPILLAR chief executive Glen Barton has told shareholders that he expects the global plant maker to grow by more than50 per cent from its turnover of £12.6 billion, despite the company's recent worse than forecast annual results.

Mr Barton said that by 'continuing to design and build technologically superior products,' Cat would boost its customer base, and ultimately grow the company.

He predicted that the firm would realise the benefits of a number of long-term strategies this year, including its line of compact machines, synergies from major acquisitions and the acceleration of e-business.

Last week, Cat launched an online procurement system for its plants last week, which it saidwas likely to save $100 million (£64 million) a year in administration costs. 'We're focused on cost management, accelerating the financial benefits from our acquisitions... and becoming even more responsive,' said Mr Barton.

Cat has already put its cost reduction strategy into operation, posting pre-tax profits for the first quarter ending March 31, up 26 per cent on the same period last year to £165 million. The company said it expects profits to climb 8-15 per cent over the year.

It said the profits rise came from an increase in pure sales volume as well as improved manufacturing efficiency.

However, the company warned that a continuation of price discounting from competitors would impact on the results.