Caterpillar Forms Partnership With German Company

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) -- Caterpillar Inc. said Thursday it has signed an agreement to have German equipment maker Wacker Neuson SE design, manufacture and sell Caterpillar's lighter weight hydraulic excavators.

Wacker Neuson will produce Caterpillar "mini" hydraulic excavators weighing under three tons at its plant in Linz, Austria.

Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, currently offers three models in this size range. The machines will be distributed through Caterpillar's global dealer network, except in Japan.

Caterpillar is considered a bellwether of the economy because its iconic yellow-and-black equipment is used in many different sectors all over the world.

Last week, the Peoria, Ill., company said its machine sales worldwide jumped 11 percent in May compared with a year ago as a rebound in North American and Asian business markets helped offset declines in European sales.

It was the first time since August 2006 the company reported year-over-year growth in North America.

Caterpillar shares fell $1.10 to $63.23 in morning trading Thursday.

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