Doosan Claims No Changes For Bobcat

New South Korean owner says Bobcat is the largest overseas acquisition in Korean history.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A South Korean company that has signed a contract to buy the Bobcat Co. says it won't make changes to the North Dakota-based operations.
''It's business as usual,'' said Meghann McKinley, a marketing manager for Doosan Infracore. ''We're moving forward as is.''
Bermuda-based Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd. announced Sunday that it is selling Bobcat and its utility equipment and attachments business units to Doosan Infracore for $4.9 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.
Doosan officials said it's the largest overseas acquisition in Korean history.
Bobcat, which is based in West Fargo and known for its skid-steer loaders, has plants in Bismarck and Gwinner, in southeastern North Dakota. The company employs more than 2,600 people in North Dakota.
Yongmaan Park, Doosan's chief executive officer, told Gov. John Hoeven on Monday there would be no changes to Bobcat's operations in North Dakota.
Union officials say workers in North Dakota aren't convinced Bobcat will remain in North Dakota, or even North America.
''That's sure my hope. But basically it's just wait and see,'' said Jeremy Bauer, president of Steelworkers Local 566 in Bismarck.
''I would like to see a written commitment from them saying that they will keep the operations here in North Dakota,'' said Tom Ricker, president of the United Steelworkers Local 560 in Gwinner. ''Even if they put it in writing, there are no guarantees.''
Ricker said he has not considered Bobcat a U.S. company since Ingersoll-Rand reincorporated in Bermuda in 2001.
Park and other company officials are slated to come to North Dakota next week to visit Bobcat facilities, McKinley said.
Park said in a statement that Doosan plans ''to maintain the current management to best utilize their expertise and skills in an effort to evolve Doosan Infracore into truly a global company.''
Doosan, which already is South Korea's largest equipment manufacturer, wants to be one of the world's top five construction equipment companies by 2010, Park said.
The company's revenues would increase from $4.7 billion to $7.4 billion with the acquisition of Bobcat and the related utility and attachment businesses. Once the deal is final, Doosan said it would be the seventh largest construction equipment company in the world, up from 19th.
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