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CATERPILLAR INC. (CAT)--Headquartered in Peoria, Ill, the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines. It is a Fortune 500 industrial company with over $25 billion in assets. The company employs about 66,000 people worldwide. Caterpillar records more than half of its sales to overseas customers. It is a leading exporter, with annual export sales of nearly $6 billion. Exports support 15,000 U.S. Caterpillar jobs and over 30,000 additional jobs at U.S. Cat suppliers. In the last five years, it has acquired 20 companies and formed 17 joint ventures. Products are sold in about 200 countries. U.S. plants include, East Peoria, Ill., Aurora, Ill., Clayton, N.C., Sanford, N.C., Aurora, Ill., Decatur, Ill., DeKalb, Ill., and Omaha, Neb.

Caterpillar manufactures; Agricultural tractors, articulated trucks, asphalt compactors, asphalt pavers, backhoe loaders, cold planers, combines, compactors, forest machines, front shovels, (mini) hydraulic excavators, integrated toolcarriers, knuckleboom loaders, material handlers, motor graders, off-highway trucks, pipelayers, road reclaimers, scrapers, skid steer loaders, skidders, soil stabilizers, telescopic handlers, track loaders, track-type tractors, wheel loaders, wheel tractors.

Caterpillar agreed in December 2001 to sell its Challenger-branded, four-wheel-drive farm tractor assets to Agco Corp. (AG) for undisclosed terms.

It also sells high-end, self-propelled farm combines built with Claas AG of Germany in a U.S. venture, through a limited dealer distribution network in North America. The vehicles are manufactured at a site near Omaha, Neb.