By Lloyd Graff
After a devastating year which saw sales drop 70 percent for major world machine tool builders, well capitalized firms like Mori Seiki and DMG are contemplating building machines in the United States. According to the Japanese press Mori and its partner in America, DMG, are expecting to start building machines in a jointly operated factory by 2011. Since both are headquartered in the Chicago suburbs, that appears to be the likely site, though Davis, California, near Sacramento is also in contention.
In other news, Industrias Romi S.A., the Brazilian machine tool builder, has made an unsolicited offer for Hardinge Corporation. The offer was $8 per share, a 46 percent premium over the price on February 3, when it was made. This offer is only $91 million for the company.
These two developments are logical efforts by aggressive international firms to get a better foothold in the U.S. It is indicative of long term confidence in American manufacturing. It is also a commentary on the strong yen and euro (despite its current fallback). Hardinge is resisting a Romi bid, but when relatively strong firms like Romi see a Hardinge stock price so depressed, it is an invitation to an attack.