Weiler Inc. has announced it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Caterpillar to buy purchase the Cat purpose-built forestry business.
The sale is subject to the negotiation of a final agreement, which is expected by early next year.
The sale would include the purpose-built product line that includes wheel skidders, track feller bunchers, wheel feller bunchers and knuckleboom loaders. As well, the deal would include operations facility, including the manufacturing plant in La Grange, Georgia, the training centre in Auburn, Alabama, and Prentice parts distribution centre in Smithfield, North Carolina.
“We believe that the purpose-built forestry product line is the ideal addition to our current product portfolio,” said Pat Weiler, owner and founder of Weiler. “We have a proven track record of working with Cat dealers all over the world to respond rapidly to customers with specialized product needs. 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 has been manufacturing purpose-built equipment for the asphalt paving market since 2005, with sales and service through the Caterpillar dealer network.
Weiler anticipates retaining about 270 employees supporting the Cat forestry business, adding to its existing workforce of about 500 employees at its Knoxville, Iowa-based corporate office and manufacturing facility.
“Utilizing 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,” Weiler said.
Caterpillar will still provide forestry excavators for log loading, processing and other forestry applications, in addition to supplying core Cat equipment to the forestry industry. Weiler will design and manufacture purpose-built forestry products, which will continue to be available through the Cat and Prentice dealer networks.
“We remain committed to supporting our forestry customers and the forestry industry,” said Tom Pellette, Caterpillar’s construction industries group president. “The sale of the purpose-built forestry business enables Caterpillar and Weiler to serve the complete forestry industry while providing customers with the same outstanding sales and service support they’ve come to expect.”