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No. 360, September 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


NONELECTRIC MACHINERY

In an extension of a 1996 agreement, MARUYAMA MANUFACTURING CO., INC. will continue to make through 2003 handheld landscaping equipment for sale by TORO CO. in the United States and Canada. The deal covers the Bloomington, Minnesota company's string trimmers, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, edgers, pruners and gas- powered backpack blowers. Tokyo-based Maruyama Manufacturing also offers a line of handheld equipment under its own brand name around the world.

Encouraged by the positive reception for its American-made SH Series of smaller, general-purpose injection molding machines, SUMITOMO HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. plans to double output at its Pendergrass, Georgia factory in FY 2000. SUMITOMO (SHI) PLASTICS MACHINERY MANUFACTURING (USA), LLC has made roughly 10 machines a month in the 55-ton to 165-ton clamping force range since late last year (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 6). With the higher volume, SHI also plans to start exports to Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.

KANEFUSA CORP., Japan's largest producer of woodworking machine cutters and round saws, established a wholly owned marketing subsidiary in Erlanger, Kentucky. The Aichi prefecture firm's products have been available in limited areas of the country through a distributor. With its own unit, scheduled to be operational in October, Kanefusa plans to build a national presence. Its immediate priority is to develop ties on the West Coast. First-year sales are projected at $1.8 million.

The dominant supplier of sushi-making equipment in Japan has launched direct U.S. sales of six so-called sushi robots. SUZUMO MACHINERY CO., LTD.'s new California subsidiary, which started off with 10 people but plans to hire a total of 25, has an ambitious sales objective: $44.2 million in FY 2004 compared with the $1.1 million worth of business that the company's U.S. distributors did in FY 1998. Suzumo Machinery will focus much of its marketing resources on the West Coast, Hawaii and New York, all areas where sushi is particularly popular. Its line includes three machines that can make as many as 2,000 pieces of sushi an hour, plus one for rolls and two cooked rice blenders.

An exchange rate of ¥113=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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