Cummins reported that the fourth quarter 2009 was the most profitable fourth quarter in Company history, eclipsing the previous mark set in 2007, but expects engine sales to plummet in the first half of 2010.

Sales of $3.40 billion grew 3 percent from $3.29 billion in the fourth quarter 2008, while net income attributable to Cummins Inc. increased to $270 million, or $1.36 a share, from $43 million, or 22 cents a share, a year ago. Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) was $383 million or 11.3 percent of sales, compared to $56 million, or 1.7 percent of sales in the fourth quarter 2008.

For all of 2009, the company reported revenues of $10.8 billion, down 25 percent from $14.3 billion in 2008 as a result of the deep global recession that reduced demand in most markets throughout the year.

Despite the downturn, Cummins reported solid profit and significant positive cash flow in 2009 as the company's results improved on a quarter-to-quarter basis throughout 2009.

EBIT before restructuring and other charges was $774 million, or 7.2 percent of sales - compared to EBIT before restructuring and other charges of $1.26 billion, or 8.8 percent of sales in 2008.

"Given the extraordinarily challenging economic climate throughout much of the year, we are extremely pleased with our financial results for both the fourth quarter and all of 2009," said Cummins Chairman and CEO Tim Solso. "By taking decisive action early in the recession to bring our costs in line with real demand for our products, and through the hard work of all our people worldwide, we delivered as we promised in 2009: We earned a solid profit during the deepest recession in decades and generated a significant amount of cash while continuing to invest in technologies and programs critical to our success."

Cummins' fourth quarter results were driven by continued strength in China, India and Brazil, along with a significant increase for on-highway truck engines and components in North America in advance of new emissions standards that took effect at the beginning of 2010.

Engine segment sales in the fourth quarter jumped by 12 percent compared to the same period in 2008, while components sales - which are closely tied to engine volumes - grew 8 percent. When compared to the third quarter of 2009, the gains were even more dramatic: Engine sales increased 51 percent and Components sales were up 24 percent.

Despite the strong fourth quarter results and the expected continued improvement in large emerging markets, Cummins expects the first half of 2010 to be extremely challenging, especially in the United States and Europe. The increase in truck engine and components sales in the United States during the fourth quarter was largely the result of OEM customers buying 2009 engines in advance of the EPA emissions regulations, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

Based on current orders and forecasts for the first part of this year, North American truck and bus engine shipments could fall by as much as 80 percent in the first half of 2010, compared to the second half of 2009. This translates into a 50 percent drop in externally reported revenue for heavy-duty truck and medium-duty truck and bus in the first half of 2010 compared to the second half of 2009.

"In many ways, the first half of 2010 will be more challenging than the environment we faced in the early part of the recession," said Cummins President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Linebarger.