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No. 357, June 1999

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American Companies in Japan


By the middle of the summer, publicly traded KURODA PRECISION INDUSTRIES LTD., a manufacturer of a range of factory automation products that build on its strength in pneumatic technology, will have a new top shareholder. Through a private placement, PARKER HANNIFIN CORP. will acquire a 33.4 percent stake in the struggling Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture company for $15.4 million. The Cleveland-headquartered multinational, the leading international maker of motion, control, instrumentation and fluid-flow components and systems for diverse industrial and aerospace applications, sees the alliance as a primary way to build a stronger base in Japan's automation market. Parker Hannifin also hopes the tie-up with Kuroda Precision Industries will advance technology development in the factory-automation field and expand global marketing opportunities.

By this fall, SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. will be able to build 400 compact hydraulic excavators a month at its Sagami, Kanagawa prefecture factory. Doubling mini-excavator capacity will cost equal owners CATERPILLAR INC. and MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. about $8.2 million. The new line will make 3.5-ton and 4.5-ton models for sale by Caterpillar in Europe and 5-ton shovels for the Japanese market, where demand for small hydraulic excavators is stronger than for Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi's mainline bulldozer products.

With more local governments opting to repair streets rather than resurface them, CATERPILLAR INC. sees a market in Japan for the high-efficiency CAT PM-565B cold planer, which cuts up and removes the part of the roadway to be fixed. SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. has priced this system at $983,600. It expects to sell five of them.

LIXI, INC. of Downers Grove, Illinois has given TEIJIN ENGINEERING LTD., its local distributor since 1990, rights to sell the Lixi Profiler in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. This portable X-ray system is designed to inspect pipes in oil refineries, power plants, chemical plants and similar settings for corrosion, blockages, wall thinning and other problems. The wholly owned TEIJIN LTD. subsidiary has priced the Lixi Profiler at $68,900. In three years, it expects the product to produce $16.7 million in annual Asian sales.

An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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