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Supply-Chain Consolidation in Europe--Oxford + Wagon

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Oxford Automotive ApS, Paris, France, has signed a definitive agreement to combine with Wagon plc, Birmingham, England. Oxford supplies modular automotive body structures and mechanisms, including large stampings, fineblanked components and weldments, to the European automotive industry. Wagon manufactures car windows, doors and impact-protection systems. The combination will be accomplished by the exchange of the outstanding Oxford shares for a total of up to 62.15 million Wagon common shares, representing 53.1percent of the combined company's fully diluted common. Herve Guillaume, CEO of Oxford, said, "The combined company will be one of the largest European manufacturers of engineered structures and will have a broad base of technical skills, equipment and manufacturing locations.” Wilbur Ross, the leading shareholder and a director of Oxford, added, "We expect the enlarged group to be among the five largest in the European industry. This transaction is therefore another important step toward the consolidation of the auto supply industry."

Georgia to Welcome New Kia Motors Plant

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Kia Motors Corp., Seoul, South Korea, will set up its first U.S. plant in West Point, GA. Production will begin in 2009 and the $1.2-billion factory will employ 2500 workers. The facility, near the Alabama border, is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles per year at maximum capacity. The Korean carmaker also said that five to six auto suppliers are expected to set up nearby, resulting in the creation of an additional 2000 jobs.

New PVD-Coating Center Opens in Houston

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Balzers, Inc., Elgin, IL, has opened a new 16,000-sq.ft. coating center in Houston, TX. The facility applies coatings--standard coatings like titanium nitride as well as advanced high-performance coatings and pre- and post-treatment processes—to cutting, forming and molding tools and precision components. The Houston facility is the fourth Balzers center to open in the past 12 months--other locations opened in Bakersfield, CA, Nashville, TN, and Toronto, Ontario. It will service the South Central region, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, catering primarily to the cutting-tool Industry as well as other markets such as stamping, die casting and molding. Learn more at


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