UPDATE 2-Cummins posts higher profit but outlook disappoints

Thu Feb 6, 2014 9:47am EST

* 4th-qtr earnings top estimates

* But 2014 forecast implies EPS below expectations

* Shares lower in early trading

By James B. Kelleher

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Cummins Inc posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit as strong sales of engines and other vehicle components to truck and construction-equipment makers in North America, Europe and China, offset weakness in emerging markets, including India and Mexico.

But the company also provided a preliminary forecast for 2014 sales and profits that fell short of expectations, sending its shares lower in early trading.

Cummins reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $432 million, or $2.32 a share, up from $404 million, or $2.14 a share, during the comparable quarter last year.

Sales rose 7 percent to $4.6 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected the Columbus, Indiana-based company to post a profit $1.98 a share on sales of $4.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.

While weakness in global mining markets continued to weigh on sales of engines to makers of earth-moving mining equipment, Cummins said sales of engines used to power construction equipment were strong during the quarter.

The company also reported higher demand for on-highway truck components in North America, Europe and China.

Looking forward, the company said it expects to post full- year 2014 revenues growth of between 4 percent and 8 percent and to report earnings before interest and tax in the range of 12.75 to 13.25 percent of sales.

Ann Duignan, an analyst at JP Morgan, said the forecast implied 2014 EPS of about $8.50 - well below consensus estimates.

Analysts, on average, expected Cummins to post a full-year 2014 profit of $9.23 a share, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.

In early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Cummins shares fell 1.8 percent at $124.38.

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