Locals clear of Caterpillar problems

Wagner stores independently service, deal company's equipment

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— Losses and layoffs at Caterpillar haven't hit two local businesses that sell the company's equipment.

Wagner Rents in Steamboat Springs and Wagner Equipment Company in Hayden sell and service Caterpillar products. The Illinois company makes mining and construction equipment such as backhoe loaders and excavators. Caterpillar announced 5,000 layoffs Monday and reported its fourth-quarter profit decreased 32 percent.

Although business this winter has slowed alongside construction, neither Wagner Rents nor Wagner Equipment has laid off workers, managers said.

"Currently, layoffs are just Caterpillar corporate," said Jim Burrow, branch manager at Wagner Rents. "We're independently owned by the Wagner family."

Jeff Rosendale, store manager at Wagner Equipment in Hayden, said his shop wasn't connected to the Caterpillar problems.

"We are not expecting anything, any problems at all there," Rosendale said. "We're a dealer for Caterpillar, but the direct impact should not affect us at all."

Business is off, Rosendale said.

"There has been some slowdown, yeah, but no worse than what anyone else is seeing around here," he said.

Caterpillar corporate announced its 5,000 new layoffs on top of earlier actions. The latest cuts of support and management employees will be made globally by the end of March, according to The Associated Press. An additional 2,500 workers already have accepted buyout offers, and ties have been severed with about 8,000 contract workers worldwide. In addition, about 4,000 full-time factory workers already have been let go, the AP reported.

Caterpillar earned $661 million, or $1.08 a share, in the fourth quarter, down from $975 million, or $1.50 a share, a year earlier, the AP reported.

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