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In Brief

01 June, 2006

•Yaskawa Electric has formed a strategic alliance with the US supplier Brooks Automation to target the semiconductor manufacturing sector. The deal includes the formation of a joint venture in Japan to handle sales and services for both companies, and the acquisition by Brooks of Synetics, a Yaskawa subsidiary in North America. The alliance combines Brooks` expertise in wafer robotics in vacuum environments with Yaskawa`s similar skills in atmospheric environments.

• Schneider Toshiba Inverter is closing its New Zealand drives manufacturing operation, PDL Electronics, which Schneider acquired in 2001. STI says the plant is not near the main drives markets and can no longer compete economically. PDL, which has been operating since 1973, employs 92 people and STI says its hopes to keep about 20 of them.

• IMI Norgren is combining its FAS, Webber, Buschjost and KIP brands to form the new Norgren fluid control group. The group, whose headquarters will be in Switzerland, will have more than 100 engineers dedicated to the development of solenoid and process valves, and customised fluid control systems.

• Siemens Automation & Drives is investing about €9m in a new Technology and Application Centre for its motion control systems division at its site in Erlangen, Germany. The centre, which will include production tools, training facilities and offices, is due to open next Spring.

• Regal-Beloit, the US-based manufacturer of mechanical and electrical motion control and power generation equipment, has bought three Chinese companies whose main activity is producing electric motors for HVAC applications. Regal-Beloit expects the businesses to add around $30m in sales.

• Weidmuller and MTL have signed an agreement aimed at strengthening both companies` customer services. Under the deal, Weidmuller will sell and support appropriate MTL products in the factory automation sector, while MTL will become Weidmuller`s specialist sales channel serving the process control industry worldwide.

• Atlas Copco Tools has acquired BLM, an Italian specialist in torque and tightening test equipment, which is based near Milan. BLM will become part of Atlas Copco`s tools and assembly systems division. About 90% of its sales are to the automotive sector.

• Schneider Electric is buying the Invensys Building Systems (IBS) operations in North America for $296m in cash. The deal follows Schneider`s purchase last year of Invensys Advanced Building Systems.

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