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No. 352, January 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


PRECISION AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

Beginning in February, a new generation of seismic-isolation devices will be made outside San Diego, California by a multinational partnership. Japan's top manufacturer of earthquake-resistant equipment, OILES CORP., has joined with SKELLERUP INDUSTRIES LTD., New Zealand's largest maker of rubber products, to produce what are known as lead-rubber bearings. These products are made from alternating layers of rubber and thin steel plates bonded together. A lead plug then is fitted into a preformed hole to provide both rigidity under low lateral loads and energy dissipation with high lateral loads, and thick steel plates are added to the top and bottom. Finally, the package is encased in rubber to provide additional environmental protection. Lead-rubber bearings can be made in a wide range of sizes to accommodate different design requirements, such as buildings or bridges. SKELLERUP OILES SEISMIC PROTECTION, L.L.C., in which Oiles has a 49 percent interest, has leased a plant in Poway, California to make the bearings.

Through a private placement, CENTURY MEDICAL INC. invested $1 million in ENCORE MEDICAL CORP., an Austin, Texas manufacturer of orthopedic total joint, trauma and spinal implants. The wholly owned ITOCHU CORP. subsidiary is the exclusive distributor in Japan of Encore's orthopedic trauma products. These include the True-Flex intramedullary rod system, which is used to repair fractures to the long bones of the body. In exchange for the capital infusion, Century Medical's distribution agreement was extended through the end of 2005.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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