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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Prosecutors To Search Olympus Offices

December 16, 2011 6:35 am

TOKYO, Dec. 17 (Kyodo) — Prosecutors plan to search the offices of Olympus Corp. by the end of next week on suspicion of falsification of financial reports in connection with the coverup of the company's massive investment losses, investigative sources said Friday. The planned search by the special investigative unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, likely to be conducted jointly with police and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, has been prompted by mounting allegations that the company's former executives led the accounting fraud.

Antitrust Watchdog Probes Honeywell, DuPont

December 16, 2011 6:32 am | by Gabriele Steinhauser, AP Business Writer

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's antitrust watchdog is investigating whether U.S. companies Honeywell and DuPont are colluding to restrict rivals from producing a key refrigerant for car air-conditioning systems that meets new environmental standards. The European Commission said Friday it has received complaints that the two companies entered into "development, licensing and production arrangements" that prevent rivals from also developing versions of a new refrigerant.

Settlement Reached In Gulf Chinese Drywall Cases

December 16, 2011 6:30 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Chinese drywall manufacturer has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to resolve court claims by thousands of Gulf Coast property owners who say the product corroded pipes and wires and otherwise wrecked their homes, the largest settlement of its kind so far.

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CAT Sees 2012 Revenue Of At Least $63.8B

December 16, 2011 4:07 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. said it expects 2012 revenue of roughly $63.8 billion to $69.6 billion, and it reaffirmed its full-year 2011 guidance on Wednesday. The world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment said it expects a 2011 profit of about $6.75 per share on revenue of $58 billion, the same guidance it gave in October.

Coca-Cola Advances Plant Bottle Technology

December 16, 2011 4:05 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola Co. announced a deal Thursday with three biotechnology companies that it says will speed its development of plastic for its bottles that will be made entirely from plants. Beverage makers are trying to use new types of bottles to cut their environmental impact and lower their costs.

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NC Hits Deadline For Alcoa's Jobs-For-License Deal

December 16, 2011 4:03 am | by Emery P. Dalesio, AP Business Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A recently created steel company and its big backer Alcoa Inc. set a Thursday deadline for local and state officials to drop opposition of Alcoa renewing a multi-decade license to operate four hydroelectric dams. Alcoa officials had warned that unless their route to a new license to operate the dams was cleared by midnight Thursday, Clean Tech Silicon and Bar LLC would take its estimated 250 production and 200 support jobs somewhere other than the former Alcoa aluminum smelting plant in Stanly County that once employed about 1,000.

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U.S. Factory Output Declined Sharply In November

December 16, 2011 4:01 am | by Daniel Wagner, AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing output fell in November for the first time in seven months. The decline was largely because factories made fewer autos. But production of home electronics, appliances and business equipment also dropped. Economists took the industrial production report from the Federal Reserve with a little caution.

Next-Generation RIM Phones Delayed

December 16, 2011 3:59 am | by Rob Gillies, Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. said Thursday that new phones deemed critical to the company's future will be delayed until late 2012. Mike Lazaridis, one of the company's co-CEOs, said the BlackBerry 10 phones will need a highly integrated chipset that will not be available until mid-2012, so the company can now expect them to ship late in the year.

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China To U.S. On Auto Tariffs: So Sue Us

December 16, 2011 3:56 am | by Frank Jordans, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — China's new import duties on U.S.-made vehicles are legal under international rules, and if the U.S. thinks otherwise it should sue, Beijing's top trade official said Thursday. Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming described the duties on imported automobiles with engine displacements of over 2.

Whiskey Company To Make Barrel Pieces In AL

December 15, 2011 8:32 am

STEVENSON, Ala. (AP) — The company that produces Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey is breaking ground in north Alabama for a plant that will produce the wood used in its barrels. The mill operated by Brown-Forman Cooperage is located in Stevenson, which is in northeast Alabama. The mill will produce white oak stave and heading material that will be used to produce whiskey barrels.

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Boeing Subsidiary To Stay In WA

December 15, 2011 8:29 am | by Shannon Dininny, Associated Press

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A Boeing Co. subsidiary that designs and builds aerial drones announced plans Wednesday to expand and centralize its operations in southwest Washington. Insitu Inc. had been considering proposals from other states to move its operations, but the company said in a statement that it will build a 70,000-square-foot production facility and a 30,000-square-foot engine testing building in Bingen, Wash.

Nissan To Set Up Plant In Mexico

December 15, 2011 8:27 am

TOKYO, Dec. 15 (Kyodo) — Nissan Motor Co. is planning to build a new plant in Mexico as part of efforts to increase its presence in emerging markets, following its production upgrades in China, India and Russia, company sources said Thursday. Nissan is making final adjustments to locate the new plant near its existing plant in central Mexico, which annually makes about 600,000 units.

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Omnova To Lay Off Workers At Strike-Torn Factory

December 15, 2011 8:25 am

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — Omnova Solutions Inc. will end manufacturing operations in Columbus, Miss., after selling the rights to make its commercial wall coverings to a New Jersey firm. A company spokeswoman tells The Commercial Dispatch (http://bit.ly/rQizHx) that a "significant" number of the 225 employees at the site will be laid off over the next 15 months.

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NTSB: Ban All Phones While Driving

December 15, 2011 8:22 am | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — When someone is talking to you, your brain is listening, processing and thinking about what's being said — even if you're in the driver's seat trying to concentrate on traffic. That's why drivers get distracted during cellphone conversations, even when using hands-free phones, researchers say.

It's The End Of The Road For The Ford Ranger

December 15, 2011 8:19 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — It's the end of the road for Ford's smallest pickup in the U.S. The company on Friday plans to stop production of the Ranger, which it introduced in 1982 to fight small pickups from Japan. But after peaking in the mid-1990s, sales of the Ranger have fallen over the last decade, hurt by neglect as Ford focused on more profitable large pickups.

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Chrysler To Reopen Detroit Viper Plant

December 14, 2011 8:28 am

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler Group LLC says it's reopening its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit to make the next generation SRT Viper, creating about 150 jobs. The company idled the plant when production of the Dodge Viper ended in July 2010. Chrysler executive Ralph Gilles said in a statement Tuesday that the new Viper will join the company's product line in late 2012 as a 2013 model.

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GE Healthcare In Drug Manufacturing Plant Deal

December 14, 2011 8:26 am

NEW YORK (AP) — GE Healthcare said Wednesday that it will partner with M+W Group to build manufacturing plants to produce biotech drugs for emerging market nations. The General Electric Co. division said it will work with M+W, a global engineering, construction, and project management company, to build the plants for government and health care companies.

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CAT Sells Part Of Bucyrus Business For $360M

December 14, 2011 8:24 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. said Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby is paying $360 million for part of the former Bucyrus distribution business, which Caterpillar acquired through its $7.6 billion acquisition of the surface mining equipment maker last year. Sime Darby, one of the world's largest palm oil companies, is also a Caterpillar dealer in Asia.

Big Company CEOs Foresee No Hiring Pickup

December 14, 2011 8:23 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two-thirds of chief executives of the largest U.S. companies don't plan to hire in the next six months, mainly because of sluggish growth in the United States and financial turmoil in Europe. The Business Roundtable said Tuesday that about one-third of its member CEOs expect to add employees and spend more on large equipment in the next six months.

Ex-Siemens Execs Charged In Bribery Scheme

December 14, 2011 8:20 am | by Larry Neumeister, Pete Yost, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Eight former Siemens senior executives and agents were charged with plotting to pay $100 million in bribes to secure a $1 billion contract to produce national identity cards for Argentine citizens, in a scam involving a "shocking level of deception and corruption," an assistant U.

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