Swedish firm buys trimmer maker RPT
AUBURN HILLS, MICH. - Robotic Production Technology Inc., an Auburn Hills maker of robotic trimmers and routers for plastic parts, has a new owner: KMT AB of Sweden.
KMT also bought H2O Jet Inc. of Olympia, Washington, which makes high-pressure water-jet cutting products and replacement water-jet pumps. KMT paid $36 million for both companies, financed through a bank loan.
Stockholm-based KMT is in the same business as RPT and H20 Jets, making equipment for water-jet cutting, precision grinding and sheet-metalworking.
The publicly traded company reported 2006 sales of 1.59 billion Swedish kronor ($216 million). RPT employs 80 and generates annual sales of about $35 million, according to KMT.
Founded in 1985, RPT made welding robots for the auto industry until it expanded into plastics equipment in the early 1990s. In 1999, the firm moved to its 95,000-square-foot plant in Auburn Hills. RPT uses six-axis Fanuc robots for its router trimmers and water- and laser-jet cutting equipment.
RPT has an installed base of about 3,000 robotic systems. In plastics, its markets include thermoforming, composites and rotational molding.
H20 Jet employs 30 and has annual sales of about $10 million, mainly from aftermarket sales of replacement parts such as its diamond nozzle technology for ultrahigh-pressure water-cutting applications.
Netstal press sales, orders down in '06
NÃFELS, SWITZERLAND - Netstal-Maschinen AG reported its sales fell 5.7 percent, to 296.7 million Swiss francs ($237 million) in 2006, down from SFr314.8 million ($251 million) the year before.
Orders also declined, to SFr299.5 million ($240 million),a 5.6 percent drop from 2005.
Netstal said injection molding machinery makers could not benefit from a strong global economy that has lifted other sectors. Energy and raw material prices rose again in 2006 and had a restraining effect on the investing behavior of its customers, the firm said in announcing year-end sales.
Officials are ``cautiously optimistic'' about 2007.
NÃ¤fels-based Netstal said higher sales from standard injection presses and PET preform machines offset a big decline in presses for optical discs. The firm did not disclose profit for 2006.
Exports to European customers accounted for about 68 percent of sales. Netstal said sales to Asia and North and South America remained almost unchanged from the previous year, but sales doubled for the Middle East.
Netstal said sales of its Elion all-electric press doubled in 2006 vs. 2005. Elion has brought new customers to Netstal, the firm said.
Global demand for optical discs, such as CDs, DVDs and recordable discs, fell 40 percent. Netstal said. Its e-Jet and Discjet presses fared better, but sales still declined by 30 percent.
In PET preforms, Netstal said the trend toward high-cavity molding continued, fueling sales of its machines to that segment.
Australia gives nod to Visy-Graham deal
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Melbourne packaging company Visy Industries Pty. Ltd. has been granted immunity from an Australia trade practices law for a licensing agreement with U.S.-based Graham Packaging Co. LP.
The license allows Visy to use Graham technology to produce PET bottles in Australia and New Zealand. York, Pa.-based Graham applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for the immunity, because the license requires Visy to buy machines from Bolton, Ontario-based Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
Under Australia's Trade Practices Act, any agreement requiring a purchaser to buy a product or service from a specified supplier is illegal. In its application for immunity, Graham said there will be no detriment to consumers because Visy cannot use Graham's technology without Husky's machines.
Harry Debney, Visy chief executive officer, said the agreement is of ``key importance'' to Visy's food and beverage packaging businesses.
``We expect longer-shelf-life aseptic packaging for dairy products, greatly improved wine and beer packaging in PET, packaging weight reductions and new barrier packaging technologies,'' Debney said.
Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.