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No. 366, March 2000

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Japanese Companies in the US


MISCELLANEOUS

In a major boost for its aerospace business, MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. is partnering with BOEING CO.'s Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power unit to design and develop a new liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen second-stage engine for the next generation of expendable satellite launch vehicles. Their goal for the code-named MB-XX engine is to engineer a high-efficiency, affordable and low-risk propulsion system. The first MB-XX derivative, the MB-60, is an engine with 60,000 pounds of thrust that Boeing plans to use for its Delta IV booster beginning in 2004. MHI brings considerable expertise to the project since it was the prime contractor for Japan's H-II rocket, which used a cryogenic propulsion system to power both of its two stages, and it has the same position on the derivative H-IIA project. Japan's top aerospace company will be in charge of developing the MB-XX engine's combustion chamber and control devices. It expects this effort to cost around $45.9 million. For its part, Rocketdyne, which has supplied the rocket propulsion systems for virtually every major U.S. space program, will work on the MB-XX's turbo pumps, nozzle skirts and other components and will be the engine's integrator.

MITSUI COMTEK CORP. of Saratoga, California joined a number of venture-capital firms in making an investment described as major in COLLABRIA, INC. The Menlo Park, California start-up is the developer of the Print Commerce solution, an Internet-based set of work-flow tools that automate the process of buying, managing and producing printed materials. The investment is part of a deal reached by MITSUI & CO., LTD. to form a business and technology alliance with Collabria. Under it, the trader will market Print Commerce to the huge Japanese printing industry as well as provide system localization and technical support.

Fast-expanding INTERNET RESEARCH INITIATIVE, INC., which provides engineering and management advice to corporations, among other Internet-re-lated services, has a U.S. subsidiary. The main job of New York City-based IRI, INC. is to forge tie-ups with American start-ups in the Internet support field. Of particular interest are application service providers. IRI also will be on the lookout for investment opportunities.

Economic data-base compiler IBJ-NIKKO INFORMATION SYSTEMS, LTD. has tied up with FACTSET RESEARCH SYSTEMS, INC. The Greenwich, Connecticut company is a major supplier of on-line integrated financial and economic information to financial services providers around the world. Under the agreement, FactSet will have access to IBJ-Nikko's INDB, which provides 14,000 data series extending back to 1950 and updated daily relating to economic, industrial and financial developments in Japan. IBJ- Nikko hopes to make similar arrangements with other foreign firms that operate integrated, on-line information systems.

Through its primary U.S. subsidiary, ITOCHU CORP. made a $10 million investment in NEWTON SENIOR LIVING in the form of a convertible preferred equity interest. The Needham, Massachusetts company is one of New England's largest owners, developers and managers of housing for senior citizens. NSL will use the Itochu money for current project development and operating capital. The trading company, which provided financing for two of NSL's early assisted-living facilities, has the option to inject another $10 million into the company. That is likely to occur in the third quarter. NSL and its partner plan to explore the possibility of bringing the U.S. firm's senior-living concept to Japan.

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