(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc <CAT.N>, the world's largest maker of construction equipment, reported a 55 percent drop in quarterly profit on Monday as customers sold off existing inventories rather than buy new machines.
For the fourth quarter, the company posted net income of $697 million, or $1.04 per share, compared with $1.55 billion, or $2.32 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Revenue fell 7 percent to $16.08 billion.
Caterpillar expects to earn $7 to $9 per share in 2013.
Earlier this month Caterpillar said it discovered accounting fraud at a Chinese coal mining supplier it bought in 2012. Caterpillar wrote down most of the $650 million deal, zapping fourth-quarter results by 87 cents per share.
(Reporting By Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)
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