Caterpillar, Inc. said it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Weiler, Inc., Knoxville, Ia., to sell its purpose-built forestry business. Cat said it will continue to provide forestry excavators for log loading, processing and other forestry applications, in addition to supplying core Caterpillar equipment to the forestry industry. No financial details were provided.
When finalized, Weiler will design and manufacture purpose-built forestry products, which will be available through the Cat and Prentice dealer networks. The proposed sale includes a product line consisting of wheel skidders, track feller bunchers, wheel feller bunchers, knuckleboom loaders, and related operations facilities including a manufacturing plant and warehouse in LaGrange, Ga., a demonstration and training center in Auburn, Ala., and the legacy Prentice parts distribution center in Smithfield, NC. The sale is subject to negotiation of a final agreement, the closing of which is expected by early 2019.
The move clearly expands Weiler’s product range, which had primarily been equipment for the paving markets sold via Cat dealers in North America. The base designs of the company’s self-propelled road wideners and asphalt windrow elevators were created by Barber-Greene, which Cat purchased in the early 1990s.
Weiler purchased those designs from Cat in 2005 and established the Weiler brand name. Since then the company has expanded its range adding self-propelled material transfer vehicles, a commercial paver, split-drum compactors, tack distributors and highway class front mount screeds.
“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, Inc. “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, our flexible design and manufacturing strategy, and our unrivaled customer focus will differentiate us within the forestry segment.”
It is anticipated that approximately 270 employees supporting the purpose-built forestry business will retain employment with Weiler. A small number of Caterpillar employees will continue to support forestry excavators and the existing forest products field population.