Caterpillar CEO on China trade war fears: We’re ‘still meeting our forecast’

Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby expressed confidence about his company’s strategy and prospects, despite the prolonged trade war between the world’s largest economies.

We’ve navigated trade tensions in our 94-year history, this is not new for us,

he told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer in a Thursday interview.

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China makes up between 5% and 10% of Caterpillar’s sales, particularly in hydraulic excavators, or demolition vehicles. Umpleby said that business “continues to be strong” despite an ongoing trade dispute between the countries that has seen tariffs levied on both sides.

We saw a big increase there in 2017, 2018, and it’s continuing in 2019 so far,We’re very comfortable still meeting our forecast dealing with those challenges, so, again, it’s a part of what we do. We’ve seen this before, we’ve been through it, we’ll manage our way through this situation.

He said.

The heavy machinery manufacturer is seeing results of its new strategy for profitable growth that it launched in early 2017, around the same time that Umpleby became chief. Management has focused on improving operating margins and building its services business, he said.

Umpleby said Caterpillar bested its 2014 margins in 2018 — it produced $55 billion worth of sales each year.

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