2002

Aug.8, 2002

Minebea Co.,Ltd.
Huan Hsin Holdings Ltd.

Minebea and the Huan Hsin Group to Begin PC Keyboard Production in China

Minebea Co. Ltd. ("Minebea") and the Huan Hsin Group ("Huan Hsin"; incorporated in Singapore as "Huan Hsin Holdings Ltd.") are pleased to announce their decision to establish a joint venture in Singapore which will produce personal computer keyboards at the factory of a subsidiary to be established in China. The two companies have already signed a contract for the establishment of the Singapore joint venture.

1.Description of joint venture

Name: Sheng Ding (Pte) Ltd.
Capital structure: Minebea 60%, Huan Hsin 40%
Location: Singapore
Contract date: August 8, 2002
Establishment: August 2002 (tentative)

2.Description of China subsidiary

Name: Shanghai Sheng Hsin Ltd.
Capital structure: Wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore joint venture
Location: Ming Hang, Shanghai, The People's Republic of China
Establishment: October 2002 (tentative)
Purpose: Production of personal computer keyboards
Operational structure: Minebea will be responsible for design, development, production technology support, and sales; Huan Hsin will be responsible for the operations and production of the China subsidiary.
Production begins: December 2002 (tentative)
Production plan:

The company will begin by producing approximately 500,000 keyboards per month and will increase capacity according to the following schedule:

Year ending March 2003 1.0 million (per month)
Year ending March 2004 2.5 million (per month)
Year ending March 2005 4.0 million (per month)

Capital investment: Approximately ¥2 billion (does not include investment in factory land or building, which will be leased from Huan Hsin).

3.Purpose of joint-venture

1) Minebea began production of computer keyboards in 1982 and currently provides OEM keyboards for the desktop and notebook computers of major Japanese, North American, and European manufacturers. All parts other than connectors, cables, and electronic components are produced and assembled at a factory in Thailand, with a printing plant in Scotland (U.K.) printing keyboard languages for European countries. This system is highly competitive in terms of quality, production capacity, and speed of supply, and has made Minebea one of the world's top manufacturers of computer keyboards with a share of approximately 20% of the global market.
Competing keyboard manufacturers from Taiwan have been producing their keyboards in China, and prices are likely to decline further. Minebea's keyboard operation is solid; during the last fiscal year the business's operating profit ratio was higher than the average of the company's other core business divisions, and orders continue to grow. However, Minebea will need to further reduce production costs in order to continue expanding this business and improving profitability.

Japanese, North American, and European keyboard customers are shifting their personal computer production into China (particularly around Shanghai). This trend is virtually certain to accelerate in the future. We are confident that local production in the Shanghai area will enable us to reduce manufacturing, materials, and logistical costs, which will lead to an expansion in our market share.

The joint venture combines the sales network, new-product development capacity, and production technology strengths of Minebea with the business speed of Huan Hsin and the manufacturing costs of China. As such, it will be well positioned to achieve significant expansions in the keyboard business and improvements in profitability for a minimal investment. These considerations led Minebea to the decision to establish the joint venture and to begin keyboard production via a Chinese subsidiary.
2) Huan Hsin has been operating in Shanghai since 1993. Over the years Huan Hsin has expanded its operations spanning mould fabrication to finished product assembly, thereby evolving into an integrated contract manufacturer of telecommunications and electronic products for major OEMs and ODMs around the world. Presently, Huan Hsin is one of leading notebook casing manufacturers in Shanghai.

The partnership with Minebea is part of Huan Hsin's growth strategy. By linking the new product development capacity and production technology strengths of Minebea with the integrated production capacity that Huan Hsin has in China, the company seeks to expand and develop the business for both partners and is confident that the joint venture will be very much profitable to both. These considerations led Huan Hsin to agree to the establishment of the new companies.

4.Other information

Minebea's Thai factory will supply the China subsidiary with membrane switches and certain other parts, but Minebea plans to gradually shift its keyboard production from Thailand to China, with a target of all keyboard production being done by the China subsidiary in 2005.

Minebea will use the keyboard factory space in Thailand for the production of bearing-related products and precision small motors, primarily for automobiles. It will be shifting keyboard employees to these divisions.

Reference documents:
1) Company Profiles
2) Minebea Keyboard Operations
3) Minebea Operations In China
4) Huan Hsin Operations In China


For further information and inquires, please contact:

Mr. Yasuaki Miyahara,
Corporate Communications Office
Corporate Planning Department
Minebea Co. Ltd.
Tel: 03-5434-8637
Fax: 03-5434-8607
E-mail: ymiyahara@minebea.co.jp
URL: http://www.minebea.co.jp

Ms. Ng Woan Mee, Head of Finance
Mr. Ng Pak Yew, Corporate Communications Manager
Huan Hsin Holdings Ltd.
Tel: 65-62257910/65-97547236
Fax: 604-4226385
E-mail: pyng@huanhsin.com.my andwmng@huanhsin.co.ny
URL: www.huanhsin.comOpen in a new window



Minebea Co. Ltd.
Head office:
    Head office and factory: 4106-73, Miyota, Miyota-machi, Kita Saku-gun, Nagano, Japan
    Tokyo headquarters: 19F Arco Tower, 1-8-1 Shimo-Meguro, Meguro-ku,Tokyo, Japan
Capital: ¥68,258 million (as at end of March 2002)
Consolidated sales: ¥279,344 million (year ending March 2002)
Businesses: Manufacture and sale of bearings and other machined goods, small precision motors, keyboards and other electronic components and parts
Employees: Consolidated: 43,729 (as at end of March 2002)
Parent:2,562 (as at end of March 2002)
Consolidated subsidiaries: 50 (as at end of March 2002)

Huan Hsin Holdings Ltd.
Head office: 3 Shenton Way #15-08 Shenton House, Singapore 068805
Capital: S$60 million (as at the end of July 2002)
Sales: S$114 million (as at end of December 2001)
Businesses: Wire, computer cable, injection molded plastic parts, precision metal stamping, PC casings, notebook casings, multi-layer printed circuit boards, surface mount technology, chip-on-board
Employees: Consolidated: 6,168 (as at end of June 2002)
Consolidated subsidiaries: 18 (as at end of June 2002)


Operations:
(1) OEM production of keyboards for the desktop and notebook type of personal computer manufacturers.
(2) Manufacturing and sale of own-brand keyboards for multimedia computers.

Operations began: 1982
Production capacity: 2.5 million units per month
Market share: Approx. 20%
Employees: 3,300 (as at end of March 2002)
Production site: Minebea Thai Ltd. (Bang Pa-in Plant)
Design and development site: Minebea Co. Ltd., Mechatronics Division (Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan)
NMB Technologies Corp. (Chatsworth, Calif., U.S.A.)
Language printing site for European keyboards: NMB (U.K.) Ltd., Inchinnan Plant



Name of company: Minebea Electronics & High-Tech Components (Shanghai) Ltd.
Location: Xicen Town, Qingpu District, Shanghai (approx. 60 km to the southwest of central Shanghai)
Established: April 20, 1994
Sales: ¥31,915 million (year ending March 31,2002)
Total investment: ¥51,600 million (as at end of March 2002)
Employees: 4,290 (as at end of June 2002)
Operations: Manufacturing and sale of ball bearings, fan motors and measuring equipment.

Profile of factories:
Shanghai Plant (Plot: 391,661 m2)
Phase I Plant
    Building floor space: 2,300 m2
    Products: Integral-shaft ball bearings
Phase II Plant
    Building floor space: 42,000 m2
    Products: Ball bearings
 
Xicen Plant (Plot: 103,262 m2)
Phase I Plant
    Building floor space: 16,319 m2
    Products: Fan motors
Phase II Plant
    Building floor space: 24,645 m2
    Products: Fan motors, metrology equipment

Historical highlights
1994 April Established Minebea Electronics & High-Tech Components (Shanghai) Ltd.
October Began production of ball bearings and fan motors in temporary plant (site of current Xicen Plant).
1995 January Completed Phase I Shanghai Plant and transferred ball bearing assembly from the temporary plant.
1996 February Completed Phase I Xicen Plant and began vertically-integrated production of fan motors, including parts production.
August Completed Phase II Shanghai Plant and transferred assembly operations from the Phase I plant and began vertically-integrated production of ball bearings, including parts production. Production capacity: 10 million/month.
December Began assembly of integral-shaft ball bearings at Phase I Shanghai Plant.
2000 November Increased production capacity of Phase II Shanghai Plant to 20 million/month.
2001 October Completed Phase II Xicen Plant.
November Began production of measuring equipment at Phase II Xicen Plant.


1. Shanghai Huan Hsin Electronics Co. Ltd.
Production began: May 1994
Products: Wire and cables
Factory floor space: 17,200 m2
 
2. Shanghai Yi Hsin Industry Co. Ltd.
Production began: November 1997
Products: Injection molded plastic parts, finished product assembly, mold fabrication, notebook casings
Factory floor space: 49,586 m2
 
3. Shanghai Yao Shin Industry Co. Ltd.
Production began: January 1999
Products: Precision metal parts
Factory floor space: 49,586 m2
 
4. Shanghai Ju Hsin Electronics Co. Ltd.
Production began: March 2001
Products: Shredders and other electronic devices
Factory floor space: 2,310 m2
5. Zhan Yun (Shanghai) Electronics Co. Ltd.
Production began: August 2002 (estimated)
Products: Casings for electronic products such as notebooks and TFT-LCD monitors
Factory floor space: 24,980 m2
6. Kunshan Circuitech Electronics Co. Ltd.
Production began: July 1999
Products: Multi-layer printed circuit boards
Factory floor space: 21,700 m2
7. Kunshan Heisei Electronics Co. Ltd.
Production began: March 1999
Products: SMT assemblies, chip-on-board
Factory floor space: 30,000 m2
Information in the press releases is current on the date of the announcement.
Product information, contact and other context are subject to change without prior notice.

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