The opportunity to expand their offerings comes in the wake of Caterpillar's July 2011 acquisition of Bucyrus International for $9 billion. Bucyrus had been buying up underground equipment manufacturers for years and had assembled an extensive product line when Caterpillar came calling.
Boyd said earlier this year that one of his goals is to stabilize the business of Walker and Whayne so it can hold onto experienced, skilled employees despite the coal industry's ups and downs.
Although Walker and Whayne will still depend on the coal industry for a majority of their revenue, they'll be selling both surface and underground mining equipment. Right now mining in the Eastern U.S. is split about 50-50.
It is worth noting that Cat's acquisition of Bucyrus also provides Walker with a broader portfolio of surface mining equipment to sell and service.
"We have a tremendous opportunity for product expansion on surface operations with rotary and hydraulic drills, trucks, and hydraulic shovels," Boyd said. "Central Appalachia has the greatest population of highwall miners in the world."
Boyd sits on Caterpillar's Global Mining Council, which consists of dealer-owners from around the world. The council helps Caterpillar develop its mining business strategy. Although coal is currently taking a beating, Boyd said the long-term outlook is for a stable business. That's because coal will continue to be needed to meet U.S. energy demands and developing nations are staking their futures on energy from coal, he said.
Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said at the Walker Machinery-Whayne Supply announcement, "West Virginia sends coal to about 32 countries. Every other ton of coal that leaves the shores of this country comes from West Virginia."
Reach George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.