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MANAMA, BAHRAIN – An investment group on this Indian Ocean island nation has purchased a majority stake in EMS provider Victron.
 
Unicorn Investment Bank invested $70 million to acquire an 80% equity stake in the Fremont, CA-based EMS company. Its management team is expected to stay on.

"Victron combines strong execution capabilities with highly-flexible operations, resulting in a unique and highly-competitive business model," said Unicorn global private equity managing director Aamir Khan, in a statement.


Victron has a 130,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant in Fremont.


"Our partnership with Unicorn will allow us to further leverage our core competencies to serve the growing number of companies with high-mix electronics needs," said Victron president Chris Lee. "We are excited at the opportunity of working with Unicorn's team to explore international expansion opportunities."

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Commerce has named industry veteran Dr. Jennie S. Hwang to the District Export Council.

Her four-year term begins this month and runs through Dec. 31, 2011.


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BRIDGEVILLE, PAAmherst Systems Associates has published a no-cost test script for their M1 Oscilloscope Tools software that enables DDR3 compliance testing on Tektronix, Agilent, LeCroy or Yokogawa oscilloscopes.

Visit www.ScopeApplications.com for more information.

ELKHART, INCTS Corp. named Donna L. Belusar senior vice president and chief financial officer, effective Jan. 21.

Belusar replaces Vinod M. Khilnani, who was appointed to president and chief executive in July.


Belusar has most recently served as executive CFO, Global Financing Americas Division of IBM Credit. She began her career with IBM in 1982.

ANGLETON, TX – EMS provider Benchmark Electronics announced it continues to expect fourth quarter revenue of between $700 million and $740 million.
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RENTON, WAMicroscan has named former Siemens and Universal Instruments executive Jeff Timms president.
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TOKYO – Some 90 years after its founding, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. is shedding its eponymous name.

As of Oct. 1, Japan’s second-largest technology company will officially assume the name Panasonic Corp., a nod to its global brand.

President Fumio Ohtsubo said the decision was difficult, but that the brand will benefit from shedding the original name for the better-known moniker.

The name change will become effective Oct. 1, pending shareholder approval.

Matsushita was founded in 1918 by then 23-year-old Konosuke Matsushita.

LAS VEGAS – The consumer electronics industry is projected to post a healthy 6.1% increase in revenues in 2008, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.  Overall shipment revenues are forecast to top $171 billion this year.

“CE industry sales have exceeded our expectations once again, despite a challenging domestic economic situation,” said CEA president Gary Shapiro. “It’s clear that the spirit of innovation will continue to sustain and grow our industry.”

CEA says 2007 revenues totaled $161 billion, up 8.2% year-over-year.

2008’s growth is in line with the historical industry average and is well above expected growth levels for many other sectors, including housing and new vehicles, CEA says.

TV displays continue to drive consumer electronics, representing roughly 16% of overall shipment dollars. Shipments of displays are expected to grow 13% to more than $29 billion. Sales of next-generation DVD players will take off in 2008, as prices decline and consumers continue to seek out high quality home theater products. CEA forecasts unit shipments will grow 173% to 2.8 million.

“Consumers remain focused on upgrading their home theater systems,” noted Steve Koenig, CEA’s senior manager of industry analysis. “Already, digital TVs are present in more than 50% of U.S. households. 2008 will continue to feature robust growth in this category.”

Fueled by the availability of three next-generation consoles, gaming hardware alone is estimated to have grown 50% to $6.6 billion in 2007. Riding the wave of several successful title launches, gaming software is expected to drive growth in 2008. CEA expects software sales to grow 26% to $11.5 billion this year.

Total shipment revenues in the mobile video and navigation category will nearly double this year to more than $3.1 billion thanks to skyrocketing sales of PNDs. In particular, CEA expects rapid revenue growth of more than 74% for devices that include traffic and data functionality.

TAIPEI Hon Hai Precision Industry, the parent company of Foxconn Electronics, reported 2007 revenues rose 42.5% year-over-year, hitting a record $38 billion. Read more ...
PENANG, MALAYSIA - Plexus earned more than $350 million in revenue from its Penang operations in fiscal year 2007, some 23% of the EMS firm's $1.5 billion revenue for the year. And the site is front and center at the company's strategy to double in size over the next few years.

“We aim in the next four to five years to double our revenue to $3 billion, and anticipate a growth rate of 15% to 18% (during that period),” CEO Dean Foate said in a press conference.

Foate said Plexus has invested $79 million in its Penang operations over the past six years, according to a published report in the The Star Online. The site includes three plants and its new Asia Technology Center.

LOHJA, FINLAND – Electronics manufacturing OEM Photonium Oy purchased a 55% stake in Mikkeli, Finland-based Akseli Lahtinen Oy. The companies did not disclose other financial information.

The deal called for Laskentaneliö Ky, Tuomo Honkanen and Rauno Suoniemi to each sell 18% of their holdings to Photonium. Photonium holds an option to purchase the remaining shares within the next three years.

Photonium designs and manufactures lines for optical fiber manufacturing and electronics manufacturing automation.

Akseli Lahtinen designs and manufactures automation products.

ARLINGTON, VA – Electronic component orders bounced back in December after two sub-par months, the Electronic Components Association said today. The trade group forecasts 2008 will see similar results. Read more ...

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