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Hitachi strengthens its hand

Kawasaki says it will spin off its wheel loader division around April next year. The new company will initially be a wholly owned Kawasaki subsidiary but Hitachi will buy a 34% stake before the end of 2009.Three years from the date of that initial investment, Hitachi will have the option of buying a controlling share in the company.Fellow Japanese company TCM, which is already majority owned by Hitachi, will join the two other companies in a technology-sharing alliance.In a joint announcement, the three companies said the alliance would allow them to “strengthen their complementary relationship in technology development and products, to strengthen product competitiveness and to achieve a win-win cooperative relationship”.The announcement also said the companies would benefit from combining their resources to develop machines to comply with US Tier 4 emissions regulations. Kawasaki has been making wheel loaders since 1960 and claims to be the oldest current manufacturer of rubber-tyred, articulated wheel loaders in the world. Its wheel loaders are distributed in Australia by BT Equipment.Hitachi wheel loaders are sold here through the company’s local arm, Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia.