Merging Southwest Cat dealerships suggest consolidation season is upon us

By Larry StewartNovember 18, 2022

Similar histories, cultures and reputations suggest combined staff, in addition to territories, with Empire's acquisition of Cashman. (Image: Empire Southwest)

Two third-generation, family-owned Cat dealers are about to become one. Together with United Rentals’ announced purchase of Ahern Rentals earlier this week, construction-equipment distribution appears to have entered the consolidation phase of this business cycle.

Arizona-based Empire Southwest, the Cat dealer serving Arizona and Southeastern California, has agreed to acquire Nevada-based Cashman Equipment, the Cat dealer serving Nevada and parts of Eastern California.

Caterpillar’s North American dealer network has experienced significant consolidation over the past five years:

  • In 2015, British-Columbia-based Finning (the world’s largest Caterpillar distributor) became the Cat dealer in Saskatchewan by purchasing Kramer Ltd.
  • Also in 2015, John Fabick Tractor Co. of St. Louis, Mo., and FABCO Equipment of Milwaukee, Wis., combined the two family-owned, independently operated companies.
  • Ontario-based Toromont acquiring Quebec’s Hewitt Equipment and Quinn Company expanded into California’s San Bernardino and Riverside counties with the acquisition of Johnson Machinery in 2017.
  • Altorfer Holdings, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Ia., acquired Patten Industries, the Caterpillar dealer in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana in 2018.
  • Also in 2018, Foley of Piscataway, N.J., acquired Giles & Ransome headquartered in Bensalem, Penn.
  • Salem, Va.,-based Carter Machinery, agreed to acquire Baltimore-based Alban Tractor in 2020.

Founded in 1950, Empire operates 22 locations; Cashman, founded in 1931, operates seven locations. Combined, Empire will be positioned to serve clients in the construction, mining, energy, agricultural, and industrial sectors across a huge swath of one of the country’s fastest growing areas.

“We have tremendous respect and admiration for MaryKaye Cashman and her team,” said Jeff Whiteman, Empire president and CEO. “We are honored and humbled by the trust MaryKaye and Caterpillar have placed in us. Like Empire, the Cashman organization is full of amazing men and women who are committed to making things better. I’m confident that the new combined team will take the business in both service territories to new levels of client success.”

MaryKaye Cashman, owner, CEO and chairman of Cashman Equipment, said, “Since taking the reins of the company in 1995, I have dedicated my life to Cashman Equipment and our fantastic team, which has done such exceptional work supporting our customers and rallying around me in my unique and new role as the head of a Cat dealership.

“Empire has long had a reputation for excellence among Cat dealers and, as I pursue a new chapter in my life, it is an exciting opportunity for our teams to be able to join forces. I have known the Whiteman family for decades and appreciate not just what their company does but how they have built it – with honesty, respect, and integrity, and with employees and customers always at the center. Our cultures and values share a lot of common ground, and I know that our team members will thrive in this new, combined business that will deliver even more for the customers and communities we serve.”

The transaction is expected to close in December 2022. Whiteman will lead the combined company. All Cashman and Empire employees will be important for the continued success of the combined company.

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