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Minebea and Mitsumi plan to merge their businesses

23 December, 2015

The Japanese bearings-maker Minebea is merging its business with that of the electronics parts manufacturer Mitsumi Electric, whose wide-ranging portfolio includes DC motors, stepper motors and sensors. The aim of the deal – which takes the form of a share swap which will turn Mitsumi into a wholly owned subsidiary of a new business called Minebea Mitsumi – is to combine Minebea’s expertise in metal processing with Mitsumi’s electronics know-how to produce tiny, high-performance components that meet the needs of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Minebea was founded in 1951 as Japan’s first manufacturer of miniature ball bearings (originally called Nippon Miniature Bearing). It now employs more than 70,200 people and has sales worth 500,676 million yen ($4.1bn). As well as bearings, its products include actuators, stepper motors, machinery components and electronic devices. Minebea's portfolio includes a 1.5mm outer diameter bearing which it claims is the world’s smallest commercially available steel ball bearing.

Mitsumi was founded in 1954 to produce items such as coils and transformers. It currently employs 36,373 people and had sales in last fiscal year worth 153,045 million yen ($1.3bn). In addition to motors, it produces electronic components, power supply parts, switches, connectors and actuators. It was the first company to mass-produce high-performance actuators for cameras.

Minebea and Mitsumi are describing their merger as a business integration “based on the spirit of equal partnership”. They are aiming for growth by increasing cross-selling and by achieving a “strategic evolution” of their portfolio that “captures the needs of the IoT era”. They plan to concentrate their resources in high-end and niche markets, as well as combining Minebea’s motors and actuators with Mitsumi’s switches, sensors and connectors. They also intend to expand into robot-related products and other high-value-added areas.

This 1.5mm-diameter steel ball bearing made by Minebea is claimed to be the world's smallest

The share exchange between Minebea and Mitsumi is planned to take place in April, 2016.

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