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Oct. 13, 2008 – Finance Digest

October 13, 2008
Filed under Features

Indian manufacturer acquires larger share of KTM stock
An Indian manufacturer now holds a larger share of Austrian manufacturer KTM.
Bajaj Auto recently acquired 59,500 shares of KTM Power Sports AG, KTM announced on its Web site. As a result, Bajaj Auto holds voting rights and capital stock of more than 25 percent but not more than 30 percent, KTM said.
The two companies started partnering on projects in late November 2007. At the time of the partnership announcement, KTM said it would provide the technology behind its water-cooled, four-stroke engines and in return Bajaj would sell KTM products in India and elsewhere in south and eastern Asia.


Brembo acquires 50 percent of firm
Brembo, a leader in high-performance brake systems, signed an agreement with Daimler for acquiring 50 percent of Brembo Ceramic Brake Systems, according to a Brembo press release.
The price is equal to about $13.2 million. Brembo Ceramic Brake Systems is expected to close this year’s sales of about $39.4 million, a net profit around break even after R&D costs equal to 10 percent of sales and with a net debt of about $8.8 million.
The company also approved new investments for more than $14.6 million in order to double its production capacity by the first half of 2009.
Alberto Bombassei, chairman of Brembo, said, “Carbon ceramic discs technology is now ready to be applied on a wider scale, after the intense development performed with Daimler. The product is part of Brembo’s core business and Daimler will remain an important customer, for this as well as other products, after contributing with its know-how to the development of this very innovative material.”
R&D investments will continue with a view to launch a new product next year, with features suitable for wider scale applications.


Indian Motorcycle partners with F&I provider
Indian Motorcycle has partnered with NAC, an administrator of service agreements and aftermarket products. The partnership will provide Indian dealerships with F&I products and service agreements, according to an Indian Motorcycle press release.
The services will be offered in 20 Indian locations by 2009. The F&I products will include extended service agreements, etch, tire and wheel and credit products.
NAC President Pete Biscardi said, “We are pleased and proud to partner with a company such as Indian. And believe the most important component for the success of this partnership will be our mutual commitment to customer satisfaction.”


Garmin acquires its Swedish distributor
Garmin signed a letter of intent to acquire Sportmanship International AB, distributor of Garmin’s consumer products in Sweden, according to a Garmin press release.
The acquisition is intended to be final in December. This will be the second distributor buyout in just more than a month. At the end of August, Garmin acquired SatSignal, the distributor of Garmin’s consumer products in Portugal.
The acquisitions are expected to strengthen Garmin’s position in both countries, says Dr. Min Kao, chairman and CEO of Garmin.
“Sportmanship has been successful in making the Garmin brand the market leader in Sweden in portable navigation devices,” he said in the release. “We anticipate that the acquisition of Sportmanship will further consolidate and expand our market-leading position in Sweden and the Nordic countries as a whole.”
Christer Johansson, managing director of Sportmanship Invest AB, the parent company of Sportmanship, stated, “We are proud of our success in making Garmin the leading brand of portable navigation devices in Sweden. We anticipate that the full integration of Sportmanship into the Garmin family will achieve additional efficiencies and cost savings that will benefit Sportmanship’s customers and further drive sales of Garmin products in Sweden.”
Following the acquisition, Sportmanship is expected to change its name to Garmin Sweden AB. The company will retain its management, sales, marketing and supporting staff, consisting of approximately 28 people.


Hurricane adjustments cost Cooper Tire $9-$11 million
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is adjusting its production schedules at its U.S. facilities due mainly to raw material shortages from hurricanes in the Gulf, as well as soft demand in the North American market, the company reported.
The estimated impact during the third quarter of the production adjustments was $9 million-$11 million.
The hurricanes are affecting the company’s suppliers’ ability to provide sufficient raw materials to maintain full production at Cooper Tire’s U.S. facilities. Raw materials will be dedicated to those plants with products needed to meet customer needs.
Labor schedules will be flexed at all plants as long as it remains necessary to allocate raw materials. By flexing work schedules and sharing time off, Cooper is attempting to avoid layoffs at any of the plants. The situation might change, however, depending on whether the availability of materials improves or diminishes.


Piaggio to invest $82.9 million in Indian engine plant
Piaggio intends to invest about $82.9 million in a plant in India to produce engines for its commercial vehicles, according to Thomas Financial.
Senior officials from the Maharashtra region of India and from Piaggio’s Indian unit, Piaggio Vehicles Private Ltd., signed an agreement to construct the plant. Production is expected to start in 2010.
The company says India is an “absolute leader” on the market for three-wheel commercial vehicles. Piaggio also recently launched four-wheel commercial vehicles in that market.


Snap-on to build new company headquarters
Snap-on Business Solutions Inc., a provider of electronic parts catalogs for the auto and powersports industries, has announced plans to build a 105,000-square-foot headquarters in Richfield, Kan.
The new facility, which will house more than 300 employees, will be located across from the company’s current building.
“We require additional space to accommodate all of our associates and provide space for continued growth,” Mary Beth Siddons, Snap-on Business Solutions president, said in a report on www.crainscleveland.com.


Founder of ARI?to retire from company’s board
ARI, a provider of technology-enabled business solutions that connect dealers, distributors and manufacturers, announced that company founder Richard Weening resigned from the company’s board of directors.
Weening founded the company in 1981 as a business information publishing subsidiary of his Raintree Publishers Inc. He served as president and CEO of the company until October 1987, chairman and CEO of the company until October 1990, and chairman of the board of directors until 1997.
Weening is president and CEO of QUAESTUS & Co Inc., a venture firm specializing in early stage technology and media companies. He is currently serving as chairman and CEO of Prolitec Inc., a technology company QUAESTUS established in 2004. “I regret leaving the ARI Team but the demands of Prolitec and QUAESTUS prevent me from being an involved director,” he said in a press release.
“It is with both sadness and gratitude that we bid farewell to Richard,” said Brian Dearing, chairman of the board of directors. “It was his vision to harness the potential of technology to enable distribution and service channels to share the most up-to-date information, enabling widely distributed, independent dealers to operate effectively and efficiently.
“We will miss his insights and contributions as a board member, and we wish him every success.”

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