December 17, 2019
It was Monday, December 2, 1929: Caterpillar’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). If you were in New York City that day, you might have seen a newly installed automated electric stock quotation board list the company for the first time.
You might also have heard about this small company operating out of Peoria, Illinois, with just three products in their portfolio: a combine, grader and track-type tractor. Back then, Caterpillar Tractor Company had net sales of $52 million and a little more than 7,300 employees. The flagship product – the Caterpillar model Sixty tractor – was selling for $4,175.
Now, 90 years later, we will ring the opening bell on the NYSE on December 17, signifying 90 years of being publicly traded on the world’s foremost securities marketplace. Ninety years is a long time – here’s how we’ve stayed focused on what matters most through the years.
We unite around a common cause each day: helping our customers use our products and services to improve living standards around the world. They build the basic infrastructure that enables higher standards of living so that people have access to water, electricity, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and so much more.
“I am proud of our entire Caterpillar team. Every day, they create solutions to help our customers build a better world,” Umpleby said.
“Our team’s relentless focus on executing our strategy for profitable growth, including the advanced technologies that we are showcasing at the NYSE today, has given the company a strong balance sheet and the ability to return a significant part of our free cash flow to shareholders. Since 2017, we have repurchased about $7.1 billion in stock and paid about $3.5 billion in dividends.”
About two months after "Black Tuesday," which some say signaled the start of the Great Depression, Caterpillar Tractor Company stock became available for public trading (NYSE: CAT).
An investor buying one share of Caterpillar Tractor Company at $56.25 in 1929 would have an investment worth about $70,000* today, accounting for share price growth, stock splits and dividends over the past 90 years. (*As calculated at close on December 2, 2019)
Back in the day, the world needed Caterpillar products, and Caterpillar people were there to provide support on the world’s toughest infrastructure challenges of the recent century. Here are a few examples of where history and our heritage intertwine:
Laying pipe for China’s first oil pipeline
Supplying power for the Apollo 11 moon mission
Widening the Panama Canal
Commencing construction of 70,000+ U.S. highway miles
Launching solar Microgrid technology, a renewable energy solution
Today Caterpillar’s business portfolio includes more than 300 diverse products, with 2018 sales and revenues of more than $54.7 billion. And since 1991, we’ve been a part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), which is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks on the NYSE.
We’re optimistic about our future – knowing the strength of our diversity, the geographic reach of our businesses and the growing demand for our products and services. We are confident in our ability to deliver strong results and reward stockholders for another 90 years!
Beyond the Numbers with Andrew Bonfield