Cummins revises ’08 outlook to reflect worsening economic conditions

user-gravatar Headshot

Cummins Inc. today, Dec. 11, revised its outlook for 2008 due to the continuing decline in many of its key markets around the world. The Columbus, Ind.-based company now expects 2008 sales to increase by 9 percent over 2007, compared to its previous guidance of a 12 percent increase.

“Like many other companies, Cummins is experiencing the negative impact of the global economic downturn,” says Tim Solso, Cummins chairman and chief executive officer. “Our Engine and Components segments are seeing the most significant declines, with revenues for the fourth quarter down 15 percent compared to what we anticipated in our previous guidance at the end of October.

The company’s heavy-duty and medium-duty truck and construction markets were hardest hit in recent weeks, with drops in demand in North America and Europe. In addition, truck markets in China, Brazil and India also have weakened.

“We are taking aggressive steps to manage costs and production levels to reflect current economic conditions,” Solso says. “We do not expect market conditions to improve significantly in the immediate future.”

Cummins has taken a number of steps to address the slowing demand over the past month, including:

  • Initiated temporary plant shutdowns, shortened work weeks and extended traditional holiday closing periods;
  • Eliminated temporary employees in a number of plant locations;
  • Reduced permanent employee levels at some manufacturing locations;
  • Prioritized capital and IT project spending to focus on the company’s most pressing needs;
  • Initiated a hiring freeze across most of the company; and
  • Significantly curtailed discretionary spending.
  • The company also announced last week that it will reduce its professional work force worldwide by at least 500 employees by the end of 2008. The costs associated with the employee reductions are estimated to be between $30-$40 million and will be recognized in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings.

    “These are very challenging times, but Cummins is well positioned to weather this downturn,” Solso says. “2008 will be our fifth consecutive year of record sales and profits. The company is more diversified than at any time in its history, we have grown market share in many markets, and our balance sheet is strong, which allows us to invest in our critical growth opportunities. We are prepared to do the hard work necessary to not only manage through this difficult period, but to emerge an even stronger company.”