Caterpillar to Choose U.S. Plant Site by End of First Quarter

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest construction and mining-equipment maker, expects to pick a site for a U.S. factory by the end of the first quarter next year.

The company said Nov. 11 that it hoped to make a final site selection by yearend.

“There is a great deal of interest in this project,” Jim Dugan, a Caterpillar spokesman, said today in an interview. “We are focused on making sure it’s the right location. We are not overly concerned if it takes a few more weeks.”

The plant will produce small track-type tractors and mini-hydraulic excavators. Caterpillar, which is based in Peoria, Illinois, intends to shift manufacturing of those machines to the U.S. from Japan to be closer to customers.

The company has said it’s been courted by more than a dozen U.S. states, including its home state of Illinois, as well as Canada and Mexico. The plant will employ 1,400 workers when fully operational, compared to an earlier estimate of more than a 1,000, Dugan said.

The factory is expected to be fully functioning in 2016, with excavator production phased in first followed by tractors, Dugan said.

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