Cat forestry busi­ness sale won’t af­fect NZ, says Goughs

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

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.

NZL

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.

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