Cat to Sell Kansas Track Plant -- Quebec Company Will Acquire Maker of Challenger Tractor Components

Tue January 14, 2003 - National Edition
CEG



Caterpillar Inc. will sell its rubber-belted track component business to a Canadian firm, it announced Jan. 9, 2003.

The business and Caterpillar’s plant in Emporia, KS, where the components are made, will be sold to Camoplast of Sherbrooke, Quebec. Camoplast will then supply the components to Caterpillar for its Mobil-trac systems.

The sale will have little impact on Caterpillar’s Peoria-area operations and few, if any, jobs will be lost in Emporia as a result, said spokeswoman Lori Porter.

Caterpillar designs and manufactures rubber belts, idler wheels, mid-rollers and drive wheels for the frictiondriven rubber-belted undercarriage system. The Mobil-trac system undercarriage is used primarily on Challenger agricultural tractors, Lexion combines, asphalt pavers, and in specialized defense applications.

"The rubber-belted track component business has been a very good one for Caterpillar, and we’ve held a unique leadership position in design and development," said Stan Zwick, general manager of Caterpillar’s chemical products business unit, in a release.

"However, with the sale of the Challenger line of farm tractors in 2001, the rubber-belted track component business is no longer a strategic fit. We’re very pleased that an industry leader like Camoplast will acquire the business and continue to provide the quality components that customers demand."

Camoplast has more than 30 years of experience designing and manufacturing rubber tracks. Camoplast will supply undercarriage components to Caterpillar, AGCO Corp. and other original equipment manufacturers for use in manufacturing. Caterpillar will, in turn, provide the components to Caterpillar dealers to meet the product support needs of customers worldwide.

"This acquisition falls well within our aggressive external growth plan, and provides assurance that Caterpillar dealers and customers will continue to have access to high-quality undercarriage components for their equipment," said Pierre Marcouiller, Camoplast chairman.

Under the agreement, Camoplast will acquire Caterpillar’s 115,000- sq.-ft. rubber-belted track component manufacturing facility in Emporia. Camoplast intends to continue operations at the 21/2-year- old facility, and plans to retain the employees there.

Also, Camoplast will acquire substantially all of the assets used in the conduct of the rubber-belted track component business, including inventory, product designs and specifications, equipment and software.