CNH Global, Kobelco Enter Excavator Alliance

CNH Global in Racine, Wis., will buy at least 20 percent of Japan's Kobelco to form a global alliance for the production and marketing of crawler excavators. Financial details were not disclosed.

Under terms of the deal, CNH will purchase up to 20 percent of Kobelco from Kobe Steel with an option to increase that stake to 35 percent. Kobelco will acquire all of CNH's construction equipment operations in the Asia-Pacific region that covers Asia and Australia. CNH will also acquire 65 percent of Kobelco America as part of the alliance.

The alliance will cover CNH brands except its Case network worldwide and its U.S. Link-Belt brand. Those brands will continue to be manufactured by Sumitomo Construction Machinery.

In other CNH news, the company formed a joint venture with Shanghai Tractor and Internal Combustion Engine in China to manufacture agricultural tractors under 100 horsepower. It is the second joint venture CNH has developed with Chinese firms in recent years.

The new venture, Shanghai New Holland Agricultural Machinery, will be located in Shanghai Tractor's existing Shanghai plant and will employ about 1,550 people. The plant is expected to produce more than 18,000 tractors annually and within five years, 16,000 engines. CNH will own 60 percent of the venture.

Since 1997, CNH and Harbin of China have manufactured tractors with more than 100 horsepower.

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