Business Roundup: Feds raid Cat HQ; Jan. construction spending down; Bobcat, Boxer add dealers; H&E Equipment earnings

Federal agents raid Caterpillar HQ as part of investigation; stock tumbles

Three of Caterpillar’s Illinois facilities received surprise visits from federal agencies Thursday morning as law enforcement officials seized documents and electronic records apparently pertaining to an ongoing investigation into the company’s tax strategy.

The news broke across several media outlets early Thursday afternoon, sending Caterpillar’s stock down by as much as 5 percent.

According to a report from the Peoria Journal Star, which first broke news of the raid, federal officials searched Cat’s main administration building in Peoria, a data center in East Peoria and a logistics center in Morton. The PJ Star report names the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security among the agencies present during Thursday’s search.

In a brief press release sent late Thursday afternoon by Caterpillar, the company confirmed the raid and said federal agencies had executed a search and seizure warrant, noting that the company “is cooperating with law enforcement.”

In the release, Cat says it believes the raid to be part of an ongoing criminal investigation into its use of overseas profit shifting as a tax strategy.

Read the full story here.

Construction spending falls 1% in January

U.S. construction spending fell 1 percent in January as residential gains weren’t enough to offset drops in nonresidential and government spending.

Spending fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.2 trillion in January but reBomains up 3.1 percent over the January 2016 total, according to preliminary data from the Commerce Department.

Private homebuilding rose 0.5 percent for the month to $476 billion and is now up 6 percent over the year-ago total. Single-family spending rose 1.1 percent to a rate of $254 billion and is up 2.3 percent annually. Multi-family spending rose 2.2 percent to $63 billion and is up 9 percent on the year.

Read the full story here.

Bobcat Company adds dealer in Clarksville, Tenn., for multi-state coverage

Bobcat Company has added Bobcat of Clarksville (Tennessee) to provide service to customers in northern-middle Tennessee and southwestern Kentucky.

The new site is the ninth location in the Bobcat of St. Louis dealer network. It will provide a “large” rental fleet to include compact and heavy equipment and attachments.

Read the full story here.

Morbark’s Boxer adds 5 dealers to worldwide distributor network

Boxer Equipment, which offers a line of compact utility loaders manufactured by Morbark, has added five dealers to its worldwide distributor network, four of which are in the U.S.

These dealers include:

  • ASAP Equipment, LLC, in College Station, Texas
  • Motor City Rentals in Peoria, Arizona
  • PDQ CATV Supply Incorporated in Dunnellon, Florida
  • Rocky’s Stone and More in Mansfield, Texas
  • Global Machinery Sales Pty Ltd with two locations in Australia: in Dandenong South, Victoria, and in Arndell Park, New South Wales

Read the full story here.

Rush Enterprises opens truck center in Farmington, New Mexico

Commercial vehicle provider Rush Enterprises has added a new location to its North American dealer network with the addition of Rush Truck Center-Farmington in New Mexico, the third in the state.

The new facility measures 14,000 square feet and offers a parts showroom and eight service bays.

Read the full story here.

H&E Equipment Services 2016 revenue drops 5.9% to $978.1 million

Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based H&E Equipment Services, which operates 78 construction equipment dealerships across the country, reports a 5.9 percent drop in total revenue for 2016, to $978.1 million.

For the fourth quarter, the company reports a 10.6-percent decrease compared to the same period in 2015, to $244.3 million.

“2016 was a solid year for our company and industry as the strength in the non-residential construction markets continued into the fourth quarter,” says CEO John Engquist. “Demand for rental equipment was healthy, with both revenues and margins up slightly from a year ago. Ongoing weakness in crane demand continued to negatively affect our distribution business, with new and used crane sales down $23.0 million on a combined basis.”

Read the full story here.