End of an Era: Caterpillar To Phase Out 'Bucyrus' Name

A longstanding brand in the construction and mining industries, Bucyrus is going away. On July 8, Caterpillar Inc. closed its $8.8-billion purchase of Bucyrus International Inc, the largest acquisition in Cat's 86-year history. The company will soon begin to phase out the Bucyrus nameplate. “As we examined this issue, it became clear that it would be in the best long-term interests of our business to have a single brand,” says Steve Wunning, group president in charge of global mining for Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar. Though today known mostly in the mining sector, Bucyrus was a longtime supplier of heavy machinery to construction firms. The company was founded in 1880.


Unemployment Rate Eases, But Construction Still Loses Jobs

Construction's unemployment rate continued its downward trend in June, falling to 15.6% from May's 16.3%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Last month's rate was significantly better than the June 2010 level of 20.1%. The latest BLS report also had some discouraging numbers for construction: The industry lost 9,000 jobs in June on a seasonally adjusted basis and its jobless rate was still the highest among major U.S. industries.

Nuclear Power

Canada Sells Reactor Division To Montreal Firm SNC Lavalin

Canada's government has sold the commercial reactor division of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin for $15 million, plus royalties from the sale of new reactors and extension projects on existing ones. Canada still will own the division's CANDU reactor technology. Announced on June 29, the pact, which closes in October, means SNC-Lavalin will take over the division business lines. These lines include servicing and rehabilitating existing reactors and building new ones. Negotiations have been ongoing since last year. Canada cites division cost overruns of about $1.2 billion in the past five years.



Illinois State Supreme Court Clears $31-Billion Stimulus Plan

A $31-billion capital construction program in Illinois can now move forward after being mired in legal limbo. On July 11, the state's supreme court ruled that the public-works plan, which is funded in part through video gambling as well as tax hikes and license-plate fees, does not violate the “single subject” clause of the state's constitution. The plan—called “Illinois Jobs Now!”—calls for new construction of roads, bridges, rail, mass transit, schools, water and other infrastructure. The state estimates the capital spending plan will support some 439,000 jobs over a six-year period. The case came after Wirtz Beverage Illinois LLC challenged the capital plan, which the state Legislature enacted in 2009, taking aim at its multiple funding sources. A state appellate court found in favor of the plaintiff earlier this year (ENR 2/27 p. 11). During the holdup, the state moved forward on construction projects using borrowed money. “We have to have an aggressive approach to economic growth,” said Gov. Pat Quinn in a televised news conference. “We are not just standing still, running in place.”