COLUMBUS, Indiana — Cummins Inc.’s chairman and CEO said the company is excited about future opportunities for success, including joint ventures and technological innovation.

That was the message shared by Tom Linebarger to shareholders, company employees and guests Tuesday during Cummins’ annual meeting at Columbus Engine Plant.

“Our earnings in 2016 demonstrate a whole new level of performance for the company in a cyclically weak market,” Linebarger said.

Despite weakness in the North American truck and the global high horsepower markets in particular, Cummins recorded full-year revenues of $17.5 billion and earnings before interest and taxes of $2 billion. Although both figures were down from the previous year, Linebarger said the restructuring of businesses, reductions in material costs and the hard work of employees still made the company profitable and beneficial to shareholders.

After a first quarter this year in which revenues of nearly $4.6 billion represented a 6.9 percent increase from the same period last year, Cummins expects better results for this year. The company adjusted its full-year revenue forecast to a 4 to 7 percent gain over 2016 instead of flat to down 5 percent, and Linebarger said new opportunities bode well for the company’s future.

He highlighted the company’s recent joint venture with Eaton to make automated transmissions for heavy-duty and medium-duty vehicles. Eaton brings transmission experience and Cummins engine experience. With most commercial vehicles moving to automatic transmissions from manual, the joint venture made sense, Linebarger said. The collaboration is expected to result in greater fuel efficiency and smoother ride for customers, he added.

“Fuel is one of the largest cost drivers for our customers, and our ability to provide the most fuel-efficient powertrains will help us win everywhere in the world,” Linebarger said.

Read more about the Cummins annual shareholders meeting in Wednesday’s print edition of The Republic.

 

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.