Caterpillar buying Bucyrus in big bet on mining

A worker drives a Caterpillar tractor near a construction site in Gilbert, Arizona October 20, 2009.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) set the largest deal in its history on Monday, saying it would buy Bucyrus International Inc (BUCY.O) for $7.6 billion to expand in mining.

The deal to create a huge global supplier of trucks, hydraulic shovels, blasting drills and coal-mining equipment marks a step-up in acquisitions by Caterpillar under its new chief executive, Doug Oberhelman.

The Peoria, Illinois-based company is increasing its exposure to the minerals sector at a time when demand for materials ranging from iron ore to coal is being spurred by rapid development in emerging markets like China and India.
“The mining segment for us is a key strategic area,” Oberhelman, who took over from Jim Owens this year, said on CNBC television. “Demand for minerals, for coal, for lots of things that come out of the ground will be increasing as urbanization occurs.”

The move could help Caterpillar continue to boost its exposure to fast-growing emerging economies. Bucyrus generates about a third of its revenue in the developing world.

“The emerging market demand is really what’s driving things in the mining industry,” said Jefferies & Co analyst Stephen Volkmann.

The deal marks Caterpillar’s return to a market it exited in 2004, and where it will face the well established Joy Global Inc (JOYG.O), which roughly splits the market with Bucyrus.

Shareholders of Bucyrus will receive $92 cash per share, a 32 percent premium over the stock’s closing price on Friday.

Bucyrus shares rose 29 percent to $90 in morning trade on the Nasdaq, while Caterpillar was up 1 percent at $82.01 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bucyrus is a 125-year-old company named for the Ohio town where it was founded. It is now based in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Oberhelman said financing costs are very attractive, adding that Caterpillar would issue about $2 billion in new shares once the deal closes in mid-2011.

“We’re at the early beginning of the cycle in our core business and in mining,” he said.
The deal is the biggest in Caterpillar’s 85-year history by “a long shot,” said Jim Dugan, a company spokesman. Including $1 billion of Bucyrus debt being assumed by Caterpillar, the transaction is worth $8.6 billion.

Caterpillar already makes a wide range of mining equipment. Earlier this year it said it hoped to expand the line to meet demand from mining customers, who are scrambling to take advantage of rebounding prices for copper and other minerals.

Source: Reuters

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