In remarks yesterday at Caterpillar Inc.'s annual meeting of stockholders in Chicago, Ill., company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens highlighted the past year's record-setting achievements and outlined the positive underlying fundamentals for industries served by Caterpillar. He also praised the efforts of a global team of employees, dealers and suppliers who are working well together to meet unprecedented customer demand."I feel incredibly good about what Team Caterpillar has accomplished, but I feel even better about the fact that we're not stopping here," said Owens. "Record profits and strong cash flow have enabled us to invest in
growth opportunities, improve funding of our employee benefit plans, and reward our stockholders, including the 20% increase in the dividend rate announced earlier today. Caterpillar's quarterly dividend rate has
tripled since 1996. Two good examples of investing for growth are the acquisition of Progress Rail that we announced last month and our commitment to increase capacity for large engines to support very strong
customer demand for petroleum, marine and electric power applications."Caterpillar achieved record profits in 2005, and the first quarter of 2006 was the best first quarter in the company's history. Owens was positive about growth prospects for the world economy and particularly for
key industries served by Caterpillar -- global mining, global energy and infrastructure development."In 2010, we're targeting $50 billion in sales and revenues, and a 15% to 20% compound annual growth in earnings per share from 2005 to 2010," Owens said. "We're off to a great start in 2006, and we see positive
fundamentals going forward. We're focused on delivering our 2010 goals for employee safety, product quality improvements and delivery performance through rigorous adherence to Six Sigma discipline and global deployment of our Caterpillar Production System. Hitting these targets will continue to position Caterpillar as an outstanding investment opportunity. Caterpillar is well positioned to deliver its goals because of strong employee support for the company's enterprise strategy -- Vision 2020 -- which was rolled out last fall."