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Caterpillar moving top execs to Chicago area

NEW YORK (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. is moving its headquarters to the Chicago area and won’t build a new complex at its current Peoria, Ill., location.

The move comes as the company faces a weak equipment market that has been cutting into its bottom line. Last week, the farming- and construction-equipment maker reported a wider fourth-quarter loss on charges and higher restructuring costs. It has been cutting jobs and factory locations over the past several years.

“As a result of continuing challenging market conditions and the need to prioritize resources to focus on growth, Caterpillar will not build the previously announced headquarters complex in Peoria,” the company said.

The company said it will move a small group of senior executives and support functions to the Chicago area later this year, saying the city and its surroundings are more strategic locations. It expects about 300 people to be based at the new site.

“Locating our headquarters closer to a global transportation hub, such as Chicago, means we can meet with our global customers, dealers and employees more easily and frequently,” said CEO Jim Umpleby.

Caterpillar said the vast majority of its employees will remain in central Illinois. The current Caterpillar building in Peoria, Ill., will continue to be used.

In Wisconsin, Caterpillar employs about 900 people in South Milwaukee, some of them at a manufacturing plant. The company announced last May that it would be moving some of those jobs to Tucson, Ariz.

Caterpillar joins several other agriculture-focused businesses in the Midwest that have moved to Chicago over the years.

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. moved from its central Illinois base, in Decatur, in 2014. ConAgra moved to Chicago in 2016 after nearly a century in Omaha, Nebraska.

Boeing famously left its base in Seattle to move its corporate headquarters to Chicago nearly two decades ago.

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