Caterpillar closing Danville plant

Caterpillar will close its plant in Danville, impacting 75 jobs, according to a release from the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership.

The company said that 25 of the jobs will be moved to headquarters in East Peoria, Ill. The Danville plant makes undercarriage components for track-type tractors used in construction and mining. That production will shift to other Caterpillar locations and strategic suppliers. The transition is expected to be completed by 2017.

The change is part of an company-wide restructuring that includes laying off 4,000 to 5,000 salaried and management employees by the end of 2016 and up to 10,000 jobs through 2018 due to three years of significant sales declines. More than 20 facilities will be affected, cutting $1.5 billion in annual expenses, according to published reports.

“Caterpillar recognizes these restructuring actions are tough and impact its talented and dedicated workforce,” said Penny Wu, Caterpillar Inc. Global Government and Corporate Affairs Division, in a release. “While difficult, the company must continue with these efforts given the market conditions and the need to reduce costs.”

“I feel deeply and personally the loss of any job in our community under these circumstances and at this time of year,” said Jody Lassiter, Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership president and CEO. “Regrettably, Caterpillar’s announcement is not unexpected given the significant business decline the company has experienced the past few years.”

Caterpillar’s statement came the same day that Gov. Steve Beshear announced National Office Furniture will invest $530,000 in its Danville facility. The investment will create 40 jobs and increase the location's production capabilities, according to the release.

“With several local industrial expansions underway and new projects in our pipeline, I am confident that our community can provide other employment opportunities to those affected by Caterpillar’s closure over the next 18-24 months,” Lassiter said.