Digger deal boost for Leicestershire parts suppliers
Engineering firms are set to benefit after a major customer won a £44 million order.
Caterpillar has secured a contract with the Brazilian government to make 1,100 diggers.
Although the machines will be supplied by the US group's factory in Brazil, parts will be provided by manufacturers in Leicestershire.
Robert Droogleever, general manager of Caterpillar's Building Construction Products division, which is based in Desford, said: "It will not only help Leicestershire manufacturers but support jobs in the area."
Mr Droogleever declined to name the county companies which would benefit, only saying they were involved in steel fabrication.
The backhoe loader being supplied was designed in Desford.
The deal provides a much-needed fillip for Caterpillar, a bellwether of the world economy, after a difficult end to 2012.
In October, the Desford plant, which exports 90 per cent of what it makes, announced it had axed 175 temporary jobs and had launched a voluntary redundancy programme after orders from the European Union and US fell short of expectations.
Another 100 workers ended up leaving, but there were no compulsory redundancies. The Peckleton Lane complex, which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary, employs 1,800 people.
Disappointing orders led to three week-long factory shutdowns, with many staff volunteering to carry out work in the community.
The 1,200 or so shopfloor workers also agreed to a four-day week from September 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013.
However, a fourth week-long shutdown planned for February was cancelled after business picked up.
"We are just stable at the moment," said Mr Droogleever.
"It's not party time yet, but also we are not where we were in September, when we felt the bottom was falling out."
The Brazilian deal is part of a larger order from Brazil's Ministry of Agrarian Development for about 3,000 machines used for construction projects. JCB, in Staffordshire, will supply another 1,000, in a deal worth £40 million.