Echo, Shindaiwa Merging Operations

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Officials with Yamabiko Corp., the recently formed parent company of Kioritz Corporation and Shindaiwa Corporation, today announced plans to merge the two companies and operate as Yamabiko. Initially, Yamabiko Corp. was created as a holding company on December 1, 2008 to take advantage of management integration,sourcing, engineering, manufacturing and other efficiencies.

The new plan is to expand the scope of the merger to include streamlining all functions. “We have already made significant progress in gaining synergy with the two companies since our 2007 alliance,” says Chuck Kitazume, President and CEO of Yamabiko. “However, continued weakening of world markets, rising costs and declining exchange rate between the dollar and yen dictate that we accelerate the consolidation process.” Operations of both companies will be merged in Japan by October 1, 2009.

This consolidation will also impact the North American operations of both companies. Shindaiwa will transfer sales and marketing responsibilities for Europe, Asia and the Middle East back to Japan as of April 1, 2009. Eventually, all Shindaiwa operations will be merged with Echo Inc., subsidiary of Kioritz Corp., in Lake Zurich, Ill. Consolidation of the U.S. operations should be completed by October 1, 2009.

“Both ECHO and Shindaiwa are well respected premium brands in the power equipment industry. The merger of these operations will result in an efficient organization with lower costs, allowing both brands to be even more competitive in the North and South American markets,” said Yasushi Asamoto, Chairman of Yamabiko Corp.

Kioritz Corp. and Echo Inc. are global manufacturers and marketers of forestry and agricultural machinery, as well as outdoor power equipment. Shindaiwa Corp. and Shindaiwa Inc. are global manufacturers and marketers of welding machines and generators, agricultural and forestry machinery and outdoor power equipment. All are members of the Yamabiko Group.