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When the global financial meltdown hit, Caterpillar saw its revenue fall from $51.3 billion in 2008 to $32.4 billion in 2009, a 37% plunge that was the largest one-year percentage drop since 1946. Falling stock prices and interest rates hurt the funded status of the company’s pension plan, requiring a $3.4 billion charge to equity. Debt-to-equity soared from 31.2% to 59.7% by March 2009. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s revised their outlooks and seemed poised to downgrade their debt ratings on the manufacturer of agricultural and mining equipment.

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