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April News in Brief

01 April, 2010

♦  Schneider Electric is buying the Australian-based SCADAgroup which supplies telemetry systems to the water, oil and gas, and electric power industries. Schneider is paying AU$200m (£120m) for the business which is expected to generate revenues worth more than AU$110m (£66m) in the year ending June 2010. SCADAgroup employs more than 500 people in Australia, North America and the UK.

♦  SKF has opened two new factories in India. The first, in Ahmedabad, represents an investment of £40m and will make medium to large bearings. A further £22.6m has been invested in the second plant, in Haridwar, which will focus on bearings for two-wheel vehicles. Together they will employ 500 people.

♦  BEI Industrial Encoders, BEI Duncan Electronics and BEI Ideacod have merged to form a new business, BEI Sensors, with its headquarters in California. The business is part of Schneider Electric’s Custom Sensors & Technologies operation, which also includes Crouzet, Crydom and Newall.

♦  After a “tumultuous” 2009, the bearings industry will return to growth this year, IMS Research predicts. The market for ball and roller bearings in the Americas, which was worth $8.8bn in 2008, shrank by almost 17% last year, but is forecast to expand by 5.1% this year and exceed 2008 levels by 2012. The European market, worth $12.8bn in 2008, will grow by 0.5% this year and return to its 2008 level by 2013 at the earliest. 

♦  ABB is buying the power semiconductor business of the Czech firm Polovodice to help it cope with the expected growth of demand for power semiconductors, fuelled by expansion in the renewable energy sector and efforts to improve energy efficiency. ABB is already investing $150m over three years to expand its semiconductor plant in Lenzburg, Switzerland.

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