CAT CFO says credit markets easing

CHICAGO Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:59pm EDT

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Executives at Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), one of the few U.S. companies to successfully borrow money during the recent credit crisis, said on Tuesday that they were seeing encouraging signs stability was returning to the traumatized lending markets.

"This week and last week are completely different," Dave Burritt, the company's chief finance officer, told Reuters. That gives the Peoria, Illinois-based company greater confidence, he said, that its customers in the mining and construction industry would be able to get back to business.

In an interview following the release of Caterpillar's latest earnings, Burritt and Mike DeWitt, head of investor relations, said the Peoria-based company had put off publishing a forecast for 2009 earnings because the crisis that roiled markets in recent weeks had created too many uncertainties at a critical time in its internal annual calendar.

"We try to time our planning process so our first iteration of this comes in right before or shortly before our (third-quarter) release so we have as up-to-date data as we can," said DeWitt.

"The problem is this ... liquidity crisis, came right in the middle of that .. and we're just not ready. We've got to go back to the units and play in the new scenario."

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