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Caterpillar says it is on track for record year

Caterpillar Inc.

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The world's largest maker of heavy equipment, Caterpillar, says it expects 2011 to be a record one for sales and profit.

The company reported an increase in third quarter profits of 44% to $1.14bn (£715m).

Profits would have been even higher but for costs associated with its takeover of Bucyrus, a US mining equipment maker, during the period.

Shares in Caterpillar rose almost 5% in early Wall Street trading.

The company's products include machinery, engines, electronics and gas turbines used to generate power.

Caterpillar said the result was partly thanks to continued improvement in demand and focused cost management.

Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar's chairman and chief executive, said: "This was the best quarter for sales in our history, and our order backlog is at an all-time high."

He said that if the impact of the Bucyrus acquisition was excluded, the company had enjoyed "our best profit quarter in history".

The company lifted its 2011 revenue forecast to $58bn, the top of its previous guidance of between $56-58bn.

Mr Oberhelman said he was moderately confident about the economic outlook: "Although there is a good deal of economic and political uncertainty in the world, we are not seeing it much in our business at this point.

"We believe continued economic recovery, albeit a slow recovery, is the most likely scenario as we move forward."

The company continued to add jobs, taking on about 4,800 jobs in the July to August period, with 2,000 in the US.

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