Caterpillar ( CAT) will open a new electric power manufacturing facility in Newberry, S.C.

The Peoria, Ill., tractor company said diesel- and gas-powered generator sets will be assembled in Newberry. Products in the 10-200-kilowatt range will be sold to North American customers. These gensets are typically used as backup power for smaller retail operations, homes, farms and in municipal applications, Caterpillar said.

"There are strong global growth opportunities for Caterpillar in the electric power industry, and the opening of this facility in South Carolina is part of our strategy to further strengthen our worldwide leadership position in this industry," said Bill Rohner, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Electric Power Division.

Currently these electric power products are produced at a manufacturing facility in Larne, Northern Ireland. The Larne facility will continue to produce generator sets as part of Caterpillar's wholly-owned FG Wilson electric power business.

"By moving the production of these smaller gensets to North America, Caterpillar will be better positioned to quickly respond to customer demand for electric power in this important region," Rohner said. "The decision will also free up additional capacity in Larne so we can continue to support growing demand for electric power solutions to our customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia."

The production operation will be located in a Caterpillar-owned building in Newberry that was completed in 1998 but has remained largely vacant since.

On Monday, Caterpillar fell 55 cents to $56.07.

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