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Caterpillar to Invest $700M in Production Upgrades

Tue June 22, 2010 - National Edition
Josh Funk - AP BUSINESS WRITER



OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Caterpillar Inc. said June 17 that it plans to invest almost $700 million over the next four years to start producing mining shovels and expand production of its trucks at plants in Illinois and India.

The world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment said it plans to add a new mining shovel production line at its Aurora, Ill., plant and expand truck production in Decatur, Ill., and Chennai, India.

The new mining shovels will range from 125- to 800-ton (113 to 725 t) models. The 125-ton shovels are expected to be available in 2011 with larger models following in 2013 and 2014.

The Aurora plant is likely to gain about 300 jobs through 2014. Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said jobs will be added at the other plants as demand increases, but the Peoria company doesn’t know how many.

Caterpillar said these expansions should increase the truck production capacity of the Decatur plant by about 30 percent. That plant produces Caterpillar’s largest mining trucks, including its 400-ton (363 t) model.

The truck capacity of the Indian plant will double to help Caterpillar meet increasing demand in commodity-rich developing regions like Asia.

“This investment of nearly $700 million demonstrates our commitment to Caterpillar mining customers around the world,” said Doug Oberhelman, who will become Caterpillar’s CEO in July. “It also is a great example of the job-creation benefits of global trade.”

Oberhelman said more than 60 percent of the large mining equipment made at Caterpillar’s Illinois facilities are sold outside the United States.

Caterpillar has said it’s seeing stronger demand for its iconic yellow-and-black machinery because the economy has begun to recover from the recession.