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Metalformers Modestly Optimistic Heading into the New Year

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
 
Metalforming companies anticipate a modest improvement in business conditions during the next three months, according to the most recent Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 151 U.S. and Canadian metalforming companies. When asked to predict the trend in general economic activity over the next three months, 30 percent of participants reported that conditions will decline (down from 38 percent in November), 19 percent believe economic activity will improve (up from 18 percent the previous month) and 51 percent predict activity will remain the same (compared to 44 percent in November). Metalforming companies also expect an improvement in incoming orders during the next three months. Twenty-nine percent predict an increase in orders (up from 27 percent in November), 43 percent forecast no change (compared to 32 percent last month) and only 28 percent anticipate a decrease in orders (compared to 41 percent in November). “While the first three quarters of 2006 were fairly positive in terms of shipments for many members, the December report reflects both normal year-end slowdowns in some markets along with substantially lower orders in some segments of the automotive industry,” observes William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “While December expectations for incoming orders for the next three months jumped nicely compared to our November report, the overall level of increasing orders for the first quarter of 2007, at 27 percent, is substantially less optimistic than it was one year ago, when 37 percent of respondents reported expected growth for the first three months of 2006.” The monthly Business Conditions Report, been conducted by PMA since 1979, is available at www.pma.org.
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Chinese Co. Considers Buying Ford Parts Businesses

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
Wanxiang, reportedly China's largest car-parts maker, is looking to purchase automobile-component-producing assets of Ford Motor Co., according to the Financial Times. The two companies have been in talks regarding a possible buy—part of Wanxiang’s plan to expand its global presence. Wanxiang also has held talks with Delphi this year but no agreements have been reached. The company already supplies Ford and General Motors with parts. Subject of the Ford talks, according to FT, are Automotive Components Holdings (ACH), a group of facilities that Ford took over in 2005 via a bailout of Visteon, a parts producer Ford spun off in 2000. Ford reportedly plans to sell or close all ACH facilities.
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Serapid Names New Distributors

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
 
Serapid, Sterling Heights, MI, providing quick-die-change products to the metalforming industry, has named MasTech, Troy, MI, and Schweda Machine Tool Sales, Delafield, WI, as new representatives. For more, visit www.serapid.com.
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