North Dakota's senior U.S. senator plans to support the $4.9 billion sale of Ingersoll-Rand Co.'s Bobcat machinery unit to South Korea's Doosan Infracore.

I told them I intend to be supportive, Senator Kent Conrad told Reuters in an exclusive telephone interview on Thursday. Conrad met on Wednesday with Yong Maan Park, Doosan's vice chairman, and Yong Sung Kim, its chief strategy officer.

They assured me they fully intend to continue manufacturing in our state, the North Dakota Democrat said.

Ingersoll-Rand agreed last week to sell its Bobcat machinery unit and its sister utility and attachment units to Doosan, in the biggest foreign acquisition by a South Korean company.

They didn't spend $4.9 billion on this company to reinvent the wheel, Conrad said. They were buying, in their judgment, real value in terms of the brand, manufacturing facilities, (and) workforce.

Bobcat, based in West Fargo, is North Dakota's largest manufacturer with about 2,600 workers. The state's total population is about 600,000, with farming and energy industries dominating the state's economy.

Bobcat diggers, compactors, loaders and other compact machines are used on construction sites and for landscaping and farming.

Doosan has no other manufacturing footprint in North America, and its facilities in South Korea are not set up to make something like the Bobcat product line, Conrad said.

Doosan officials have also committed to honoring a 3-1/2 year labor agreement signed last year.

Separately, Conrad said he has not made a decision on whether to support a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and South Korea.

Ingersoll Rand shares were trading down $2.45 at $48.59 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. Earlier, Doosan Infracore shares closed down 3.1 percent at 37,600 won in Seoul.