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USG reports 1Q loss on sluggish demand

USG Corp. reported a first-quarter loss that was slightly lower than a year ago, as demand for its building products remains sluggish.

The Chicago-based manufacturer of wallboard and other products reported a net loss of $105 million, or $1.01 a share, in the period ending March 31. In the year-ago quarter, USG reported a net loss of $110 million, or $1.10 a share. Get the full story »

Caterpillar to build transmissions in China venture

Caterpillar Inc. said Friday it agreed to form a joint venture with a Chinese transmission manufacturer that will build drivetrain systems and other components for Caterpillar machinery and produce a line of automatic transmissions for highway travel. Get the full story »

Caterpillar CEO, Quinn meeting today

Gov. Pat Quinn plans to talk to the head of Caterpillar Inc. about Illinois business climate, countering the efforts of other states to lure the company away. Quinn and Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman are scheduled to meet Tuesday morning. Get the full story »

Illinois House bill to tie contractors to state

Construction companies that want to work for the Illinois government would have to promise not to move out of state under a proposal moving through the Legislature. Get the full story »

Caterpillar threatens to leave Illinois over taxes

Caterpillar Inc., suggesting that it could shift jobs out of Illinois, is prodding its home state to cut government spending and roll back tax increases.

Doug Oberhelman, chief executive officer of the giant Peoria-based maker of construction and mining equipment, protested against the state’s tax and spending policies in a March 21 letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who took office in January 2009.

“I want to stay here,” the letter said. “But as the leader of this business, I have to do what’s right for Caterpillar when making decisions about where to invest. The direction that this state is headed in is not favorable to business, and I’d like to work with you to change that.” Get the full story »

Caterpillar February sales up 59%

(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, file)

Caterpillar says February was another strong month for sales of its mining and construction equipment, and global sales grew 59 percent over last year.

The Peoria-based company reported sales figures Friday in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Get the full story »

Caterpillar warns of supply chain disruptions

Caterpillar Inc. said disruptions in its supply chain in Japan could sporadically affect the company’s assembly plants elsewhere in the world.

The Peoria-based manufacturer of construction equipment said Friday it is attempting to secure alternative sources for components produced by Japanese-based suppliers in case they aren’t able to provide sufficient volumes of components in the aftermath of last week’s earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan. Get the full story »

Chicago trails just Sun Belt in lost building jobs

The Chicago area followed close behind battered Sun Belt metro areas in numbers of lost construction jobs in the downturn, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville region lost 33 percent of its construction jobs, or 52,100 positions, between January of 2007 and this January, the sixth-greatest loss among metro areas, according to the group’s analysis of government data. Get the full story »

Deere & Co. to double size of Russian factory

A John Deere combine being worked on in Hampshire, Ill. Moline-based Deere hopes to expand its product line in Russia. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co. will double the manufacturing space at a factory near Moscow and start its own leasing company in Russia, the world’s largest maker of agricultural equipment said Thursday.

The announcement was made as Deere Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen joined other CEOs and Vice President Joe Biden at an investment conference in Russia.

The investment at the Domodedovo factory will help the company expand its product line in Russia, adding new equipment such as log forwarders, which load and haul logs and are widely used in the Russian forestry industry, Deere said in a statement. Get the full story »

Navistar reports 1Q loss on weaker sales

Navistar International Corp. reported a fiscal-first-quarter loss as results weakened at each of the commercial-truck maker’s main manufacturing segments. Still, Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel C. Ustian said encouraging industry trends should push full-year earnings to the high end of its previously projected guidance of $5 to $6 a share. Get the full story »

Suburban Chicago man pleads guilty to $18M fraud

A suburban Chicago businessman has pleaded guilty to stealing $18 million of public money set aside for minority businesses.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Tuesday that 58-year-old Ronald Blum of New Lenox pleaded guilty to two counts of minority business fraud. Blum owns the Markham-based Castle Construction Corp. Get the full story »

Caterpillar strikes 6-year deal with UAW

The UAW says a majority of members at Caterpillar approved the new six-year contract in voting Sunday. The union did not provide specific numbers on how members voted. Get the full story »

Caterpillar selling Carter Machinery

Caterpillar said Wednesday that it plans to sell Salem, Va.-based Carter Machinery as part of a management buyout. The terms of the sale were not disclosed. Get the full story »

Housing starts rise, building permits drop

Partially completed townhouses in Des Plaines, Ill., in March of 2010. (Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in January to their highest rate in four months but permits for future home construction dropped sharply after hefty gains the prior month, according to a government report on Wednesday that showed the housing market still bouncing along the bottom.

The Commerce Department said housing starts jumped 14.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 596,000 units, the highest since September. December’s starts were revised down to a 520,000-unit pace from the previously reported rate of 530,000 units. Get the full story »

Navistar adds Gen. McChrystal to board

Warrenville-based truck and bus manufacturer Navistar International Corp. has named retired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to its board. Get the full story »