Cat forestry business sale won’t affect NZ, says Goughs
A DECISION BY CATERPILLAR TO SELL THE specialised forestry equipment part of its business won’t have any material effect on customers in New Zealand, says Gough Cat.
Last month, Caterpillar announced it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Weiler Inc to sell the Cat purpose-built forestry business, except for forestry excavators.
The sale is subject to negotiation of a final agreement but is expected to be concluded by early 2019.
Gough Cat says it remains strongly committed to supporting its forestry customers and the forestry industry, says Gough Cat Executive General Manager, Chris Heaton.
Caterpillar will continue to provide forestry excavators designed for log loading, processing and other forestry applications, in addition to supplying core Caterpillar equipment to the forestry industry.
Meanwhile, Weiler will design and manufacture purpose-built forestry products, which are likely to be either sold under its own name or the Prentice brand, which was purchased by Caterpillar in 2007.
“The sale of the purpose-built forestry business enables Caterpillar and Weiler to serve the complete forestry industry, while Gough Cat will continue to provide customers with the same outstanding sales and service support they’ve come to expect,” says Mr Heaton.
The proposed sale includes the purposebuilt forestry product line consisting of wheel skidders, track feller bunchers, wheel feller bunchers, knuckleboom loaders and related operational facilities, including the manufacturing plant and warehouse in LaGrange, Georgia, the demonstration and training centre in Auburn, Alabama and the legacy Prentice parts distribution centre in Smithfield, North Carolina.
Founded in 2000, Weiler has a longstanding history of successfully manufacturing purpose-built equipment distributed through the Cat dealer network and currently produces an extensive portfolio of products, such as paving machines.
Mr Heaton says: “Weiler has a proven track record of working with Cat dealers like Gough Cat all over the world to respond rapidly to customers with specialised product needs.
“We are confident this provides a strong foundation to successfully serve our customers in the purpose-built forestry segment.”
Gough Cat says that as part of the proposed agreement with Weiler, some forestry machines may be branded Prentice or may use the Weiler brand, although this is still to be confirmed.
Pat Weiler, owner and founder of Weiler Inc, says: “We believe that the purpose-built forestry product line is the ideal addition to our current product portfolio.
“We are confident that our existing product line up, our flexible manufacturing strategy and our unrivaled customer focus will differentiate us within the forestry segment.”
Weiler anticipates retaining the approximate 270 employees supporting the forestry business, adding to the nearly 500 employees currently employed at its Knoxville, Iowa-based corporate office and manufacturing facility.
“Utilising the capabilities of both the LaGrange and Knoxville facilities, we have plans in place to expand the existing forestry product line to further meet customer demands,” adds Mr Weiler.
Cat skidders, like this 525D, may well appear under the Weiler or Prentice brand next year, but will still be represented in New Zealand by Goughs.