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Local

Company to consolidate local Anchor Coupling plants

Impact on Sauk Valley workers unclear

STERLING – Caterpillar, which owns three Anchor Coupling plants in Sterling and Dixon, plans to consolidate them into a plant somewhere in North America, a company official said today.

Last week, Caterpillar announced to its 160 local employees that it was nearing completion of a year-long consolidation study of its two operations in Sterling and one in Dixon, according to spokeswoman Rachel Potts.

"We are not in a position to disclose the potential location of the consolidated operations, except to say that locations considered are in North America," Potts said in an email. "Consolidation of operations is not a result of the performance of the workforce, but rather based on the cost structure of the three facilities."

The company expects to finish the study and share the results within 45 days.

Potts wouldn't say how the consolidation would affect employees' jobs. Anchor, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar, makes hydraulic hoses and couplings.

Peoria-based Caterpillar's first-quarter earnings increased 5 percent, and the company brightened its 2014 forecast, but declining sales of mining equipment is hurting the company.

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman has complained publicly that Illinois offers a poor business environment.

In 2009, after Caterpillar announced it would lay off 20,000 workers worldwide, the company said it would reduce 10 percent of the local workforce, which was about 170 at the time.

Anchor Coupling is at 2910 W. LeFevre Road and 1005 Commerce Drive in Sterling and 1100 Anchor Road in Dixon.

Local economic development officials are at an out-of-town conference today and couldn't be reached for comment.

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