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Caterpillar says US investigating company’s cash movements

SEC investigation is related to undistributed profits of non-US subsidiaries.


NEW YORK — The US government is investigating how Caterpillar has been moving cash between its business units in the US and overseas, the construction equipment company said.

Caterpillar said it received a grand jury subpoena from the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois on Jan. 8 that asked for financial information related to undistributed profits of non-US subsidiaries and cash movements. Caterpillar did not give further details but said it is co-operating with the investigation and that it should not affect its business or finances.

The company disclosed the investigation in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing also said, separately, that the SEC told Caterpillar in September that it was conducting an “informal investigation” of the company’s affiliate in Switzerland called Caterpillar SARL.

There has previously been criticism of Caterpillar’s tax strategy related to Caterpillar SARL. Last year, a congressional report said that the Peoria, Illinois-based company avoided paying $2.4 billion in US taxes since 2000 by shifting profits overseas. It said Caterpillar was using the Swiss affiliate to transfer the rights to profits from its parts business in order to avoid taxes.

At the time, Caterpillar said it followed all tax laws.

The company, which had revenue of $55 billion last year, makes mining drills, tractors and other heavy machinery. It has 114,000 employees around the world, with about 51,000 of them in the US.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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