19 October 1998
Caterpillar undecided over move on to farm

CATERPILLAR, the worlds largest supplier of earth-moving equipment, said it had made no decision about a push into agricultural products.

Doug Oberhelman, finance director, said the strategy was being examined and a reassessment could be made shortly.

“Were reviewing that very closely,” he said.

Falling farm incomes, largely due to low commodity prices, have already caused all the big US agricultural equipment makers to cut production schedules.

Companies such as John Deere, Case and AGCO forecast that demand could drop by 10-20% in important markets next year.

Caterpillar reported an after-tax profit of $336 million (£197m) for the third quarter of 1998, down 13% on last time. Sales showed a 12% rise to $5.17bn.