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No. 359, August 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


ELECTRIC MACHINERY

For $143 million in cash, GOULD ELECTRONICS INC. sold its Circuit Protection Group to a French company. Based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Gould CPG is the largest maker of industrial power fuses in North America and Europe, with manufacturing facilities in Newburyport, Juarez, Mexico, Toronto, Canada, Spain and Germany. Eastlake, Ohio-headquartered Gould Electronics, a JAPAN ENERGY CORP. company since 1988, will use the proceeds from the sale to pay down its debt and, possibly, to expand its core operations. Those are centered on printed circuit materials and optoelectronic products, including electrodeposited copper foil, copper aluminum copper, adhesiveless flexible laminates and fiber-optic components and assemblies.

Interested in supplying the North American marketplace as a local player, SUMIDA ELECTRIC CO., LTD. — a manufacturer of coils for information technology, communications and mobile systems — acquired C.P. CLARE CORP.'s Electromagnetic Group for approximately $36 million. The renamed CLAREREMTECH CORP. produces advanced magnetic products, reed relays, surge protectors and other electromagnetic components and assemblies. Headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois, it has two factories in Guadalajara, Mexico and a purchasing office in Taiwan. ClareREMtech employs some 1,200 people and has annual revenues of around $55 million. Sumida Electric is an unusual Japanese company in that all of its manufacturing takes place overseas, as do most of its sales.

SHOWA DENKO K.K. is partnering with KEMET CORP., the world's leading manufacturer of tantalum capacitors, to develop and make solid conductive polymer aluminum surface-mount capacitors. This product promises several advantages over existing aluminum electrolytic capacitors in communications and computer applications, including not only low electrical resistance and high heat stability but also true surface-mount capability. Expected to be commercially available in the second quarter of 2000, the new capacitor will be produced by Showa Denko in a factory to be built at its production complex in Nagano prefecture and by KEMET in its Greenville, South Carolina and Matamoros, Mexico facilities. For KEMET, the Showa Denko deal complements an arrangement with NEC CORP. on conductive polymer tantalum capacitors (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 6).

The first DVD-Audio players available in the United States should be on store shelves in October, manufacturer MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. says. The two initial models, which will list for about $1,000 and $1,200, respectively, come close to replicating the sound quality of concert halls. A DVD disk can hold 1,000 times more information than a typical music CD. When plugged into a television set, a DVD-Audio player can play movies recorded to DVD standards while also presenting graphics, text and music videos.

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