PANAMA CITY, Panama, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) today announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Panama to purchase land for the construction of a demonstration and learning center and other operations near Panama City. Measuring 100 hectares (approx. 250 acres), the land provides ample space for Caterpillar to establish a major operational presence close to its Latin America customers and dealer base.
Additional Caterpillar Demonstration and Learning centers are currently located in Edwards, Illinois, Tinaja Hills, Arizona, Malaga, Spain and ChiChibu City, Japan. Caterpillar is also developing a similar demonstration and learning facility in Kunming, China.
The demonstration centers are designed to showcase the capabilities and value of Caterpillar products and services. "By locating our demonstration and learning center in Panama, we can take advantage of a country that offers multiple benefits for this type of operation and provide better dealer and customer access from a single location," said Tom Gales, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Latin America Division.
Caterpillar expects the Panama Demonstration and Learning Center to be fully operational sometime in 2009.
"The services we will provide at the Panama Demonstration and Learning Center will support our products and services while helping us build lasting relationships with our customers," said Pepe Brousset, manager of Marketing and Operations for Caterpillar's Latin America Division.
The Central America District Office, which serves the marketing needs of Caterpillar throughout the region, recently relocated to Panama City, a move which will better serve area customers. Caterpillar's Latin America Division headquarters will remain in Miami, Florida.
"Caterpillar is embarking on this journey to meet several related needs in Latin America," commented Gales. "This is a long-term strategic move to get closer to the customer and closer to the market where we can be more responsive."
Caterpillar already houses part of its Latin America inventory in Panama. Additionally, a Human Resources Regional Service Center and several other shared support services for North and South America were recently established in downtown Panama City.
For Panama, this move consolidates the country's position as a leading center for international business. With its strategic central location, excellent transportation and communications infrastructure, and educated workforce, Panama has become a regional economic leader.
For more than 80 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making progress possible and driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. With 2006 sales and revenues of $41.517 billion, Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines. The company also is a leading services provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing
Services, Caterpillar Logistics Services and Progress Rail Services. More information is available at http://www.cat.com.
Source: Caterpillar Inc.