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Omron and Yaskawa form European motion JV

01 March, 2003

Omron and Yaskawa have formed a joint venture to sell inverters, servo drives and motion controllers in Europe. The new company, Omron Yaskawa Motion Control, will be based at Omron`s European headquarters in the Netherlands, with Omron holding a majority 60% stake.

The joint venture, effective from 1 April, will cover both products and services from the two Japanese automation giants. It will encompass Yaskawa`s motion control products, including inverters and servos, and Omron`s motion-related products, such as motion modules for PLCs.

Yaskawa and Omron hope that the new venture, capitalised at €0.5m, will generate about €97m of business in the current financial year, rising to €122m by 2005. Initially, about a dozen people will be based in the Dutch offices, providing support, planning and marketing services.

Essentially, the aim is to combine Yaskawa`s expertise in motion engineering with Omron`s sales network. The two partners hope that the new strategic relationship will boost their competitiveness in the European motion control market, and expand both of their businesses.

The venture will build on the existing relationship under which Omron has been selling badged Yaskawa inverters and servo products for about ten years. In future, the products will carry the joint brand name Omron Yaskawa (although on some smaller items, there may not be room for both names). The motors and drives sold by the venture will keep Yaskawa parts numbers to make it easier to provide global support.

In future, all UK sales will be through Omron. The five members of Yaskawa`s UK sales force have been offered jobs with Omron. Support for existing Yaskawa customers will come both from Omron and via Yaskawa`s existing office in Milton Keynes. Yaskawa`s inverter manufacturing operation in Scotland is unaffected by the new venture.

Some of Yaskawa`s distributors and partners will join Omron`s national sales network. Yaskawa will continue to provide technical support, product development and marketing in Europe, and will still sell directly to some key customers. It intends to focus its resources on high value-added products.

"Yasakawa has great strength in product design and manufacturing," explains Gen Kudoh, Yaskawa Electric`s European president. "We have a history of pioneering the application of advanced automation, motion and control technology, with a reputation for reliability that is second to none."

Omron, he adds, "has a well established, efficient and effective distribution network and is a tier one supplier in Europe. Our collaboration means industry has greater access to Yaskawa products, while Omron can deliver additional products to our existing customers."

Yaskawa claims to be the world`s largest volume manufacturer of motor control equipment. It has 93 employees in Europe and in 2001, its sales were worth €100m. At present, Omron`s European controls business employs about 1,340 people and it generated sales worth €527m in 2001.

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