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In Brief

01 December, 2005

• The Hong Kong motor manufacturer Johnson Electric is proceeding with its takeover of the Swiss stepper motor producer Saia-Burgess, having secured 99.3% of its issued shares. Saia-Burgess` chief executive Daniel Hirschi has left the company, and Johnson has announced plans to delist Saia-Burgess` shares from the Swiss Stock Exchange.

• Omron is planning to invest $20m worldwide by the end of 2006 to gain a larger share of the global RFID (radio frequency identification) market. Omron, which has 20 years of RFID experience, is targeting the US in particular, by establishing a new RFID headquarters and training and testing centres. Similar operations will follow in Europe and China.

• The industrial computing specialist Advantech has entered a strategic alliance with the commercial computing giant, AsusTek, which entails a share swap and the formation of a joint venture, provisionally called AdvanSus. The two Taiwanese companies plan to "pursue new business opportunities in industrial computing" and to collaborate on product development and manufacturing.

• Yaskawa Electric is licencing the rights to manufacture and market its Varispeed 7F drives in the Korean market to Rockwell Samsung Automation, the joint venture created in 2002 by merging Rockwell`s Korean operation with Samsung`s mechatronics control division. Yaskawa has had a technology partnership with Samsung since 1990.

• AO Smith, the US motor manufacturer, is buying Yueyang Zhongmin Special Electrical Machinery, a Chinese manufacturer of hermetic motors used in air-conditioning and refrigeration suppliers. The deal will expand Smith`s hermetic range into large frames and high-voltage motors. This is Smith`s fourth acquisition of a Chinese motor manufacturer since 2001.

•Agilent Technologies has sold its semiconductor products business for $2.66bn to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Silver Lake Partners. The sale, which includes 6,500 employees and operations in the US, Europe and Asia, will allow Agilent to focus on its measurements activities, including encoders.

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