Bigger base boosts Cat Financial numbers

Cat Financial posted a first-quarter profit of $141 million, up 18 percent from last year, as its total asset base grew 14 percent to more than $35 billion. Before taxes, profits rose 10 percent from a year ago to $187 million. An improvement in asset quality — past dues ended March at about 2.5 percent, down from 3.2 percent a year ago — also helped lift earnings.