2012 Will Be Another Record Year for Caterpillar: CEO

Caterpillar, the world’s largest heavy machinery maker, will have another record year in 2012, says its Chairman and CEO Douglas Oberhelman.

Growth will come from the company’s new markets such as Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and China, Oberhelman told CNBC in Beijing.

“Europe is a little slow right now but I would see a lot of opportunity as it recovers. The eastern part of Europe and the Middle East really have a lot of potential,” Oberhelman said on Tuesday. “I am still pretty optimistic about 2012. It will be another record year.”

He added that they were looking at the China market for the long term. “We look at China as a long-term market here,” he said, “It’s the largest construction equipment market in the world today. We want to be here in a bigger way and of course we are investing a lot of time for what would be a 20- or 30-year run.”

When Caterpillar reported 2011 earnings in January it forecast a profit rise of 25 percent to $9.25 a share and revenue increase between 30 percent and 19 percent. The Peoria, Illinois-based company will invest about $4 billion on capital expenditures in 2012, compared with $2.6 billion in 2011.

Caterpillar said at the time that costs will rise to meet production needs, and that it is facing production capacity constraints. Construction markets in the United States and Europe will remain “depressed,” Oberhelman said in January.