Outotec Arranges Takeover of Filter Builder Larox

Finnish mineral processing and metallurgical specialist Outotec, intent upon increasing its global business through the acquisition of complementary technologies, said it has reached agreement with certain major shareholders to acquire their A and B shares of filter manufacturer Larox's. The purchase price for the shares is to be paid in the form of new Outotec shares. Upon completion of the share transactions, Outotec will make a public tender offer for all the remaining Larox series A and B shares.

"Our aim to supplement the technology portfolio became achievable through this share exchange arrangement. Larox's products and services fit seamlessly into Outotec's technology portfolio. The transaction also supports our objective of profitable growth. By combining our respective sales and service networks and product portfolios we can provide even more comprehensive solutions and services for minerals concentrators and metallurgical plants and generate more added value to our joint customer base," said Tapani Järvinen, CEO of Outotec.

Outotec claims the combination will provide substantial benefits to the shareholders and other stakeholders of both companies in that:

  • Larox's filtration technologies complement Outotec's technology portfolio and enable the offering of comprehensive solutions for minerals concentrators and metallurgical plants throughout a large joint customer base.
  • The transaction is expected to increase Outotec's service business by more than €70 million and enable Outotec to increase its sales of services to an annual level of €250 million to €300 million by the end of 2010.
  • The transaction supports Outotec's businesses relating to industrial water treatment and the energy sector.
  • Larox provides Outotec access to the chemical industry market on which Outotec can offer, for example, water treatment solutions.
  • Combining the global sales and service networks and administration of both companies as well as economies of scale achieved by the larger size are estimated to create synergy benefits of at least €7 million annually.

The combination, according to Outotec, is not expected to have a significant effect on its earnings per share in 2010 excluding possible one-time costs related to the transaction.

Outotec said that, in mid-October it had reached agreement with certain members of the Vartiainen family, Capillary Oy, Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Co., Mikko Laakkonen and Laakkosen Arvopaperi Oy sell all their Larox series A and B shares to Outotec. The purchase price for such shares will be paid in the form of new Outotec shares. The shares to be purchased correspond altogether to 94.4% of all the votes in Larox, to 99.99% of all Larox series A shares and to 61.89% of all Larox series B shares. Completion is conditional on the receipt of necessary approvals from regulatory authorities. Based on a preliminary analysis, Outtotec expects to obtain required clearances by December, at the latest.

Upon completion of the share transactions, Outotec will make a public tender offer for all series A and series B shares in Larox that are not yet owned by Outotec. As a part of the offer, Capillary Oy will make an offer to Larox to purchase the 49% share held by Larox of Larox Flowsys Oy's share capital and that Larox Flowsys Oy wll be entitled to continue using the Larox name for an agreed period. Independent valuation of the Larox Flowsys Oy shares to be sold is currently put at approximately €3.5 million.

Outotec sells plant, processes, equipment and services to its customers worldwide. Outotec's sales in 2008 amounted to approximately €1.2 billion and the company has approximately 2,500 employees in 21 countries. Larox's filtration solutions are mainly used worldwide in the mining and metallurgical industries as well as in chemical processing. Larox sales in 2008 totaled €208 million, and it has approximately 560 employees.

Remote Control Dozer Systems Make Life Safer for Operators

Thousands of dozer operators will likely face a certain degree of personal risk when they go to work today, from possible unintended machine movements, repetitive strain, shifting ground, fatigue, rock fall, constant vibration and possible impact with other machines. And, once in the cab, due to lack of visibility operators often have to steer the dozer by watching the corners of the blade.

An alternative approach—avoiding most personal-risk and visibility problems— is to convert the dozer to remote control. “Remove the people, remove the risk,” says Phil Goode, senior business development manager for Remote Control Technologies (RCT).

“Highly skilled dozer operators assess operating risks as they arise to avoid catastrophes, injury or machine damage,” Goode said. Yet, dozer accidents and incidents continue to occur despite risk management procedures, operator training, supervision and machine design changes. However, according to Goode, some companies don’t accept these operational risks and are finding production from remote-controlled machines can set new benchmarks.

Perth, Australia-based RCT has converted dozens of different dozer types to remote control since 1988. “RCT can convert any bulldozer to remote control,” Goode explained. “We’ve put at least 17 different dozer types on remote. We are particularly proud of being the first in the world to [install remote control on] a Caterpillar D10 in 1989, and RCT was also the first in the world to install remote control on a Komatsu 575 dozer.”

In 2007, BHP Billiton retained RCT to develop a remote control solution for five Cat D11R and D10R machines assigned to stockpile handling at BHPB’s Escondida copper mine in northern Chile.

“It is possible to deploy remote-controlled dozers to perform most common bulldozers tasks,” Goode said. “Operators take control of the dozer from a safe location within line of sight of the machine. From there they can see the entire machine, unlike sitting in the dozer cab. They can perform all normal dozing work with full vision of the machine—and a range of precision tasks, such as discrete ripping or finish blade cutting, are only possible because, while on remote control, the operator can now see the ripper pick or blade,” Goode said.

Where line-of-sight operation is not ideal, teleremote systems can used, allowing work to be conducted while using a machine-specific camera and operator station. With teleremote control, operators at the remote station view color monitors displaying machine images or bird’s eye views of the job site. The dozer’s dash instrumentation can be displayed with or without audio feedback. Pitch, tilt and roll telemetry can be included in the visual displays to provide more precise machine control where required.

Wi-Fi Tracking Goes Underground at Newmont’s Leeville

AeroScout, a Redwood City, California, USA-based company that develops wireless asset-tracking solutions, and Mine Site Technologies of Sydney, NSW, Australia, report that Newmont Mining Corp.’s Leeville gold mine in central Nevada, USA, has deployed AeroScout and MST's Wi-Fi RFID systems for tracking miners, equipment and vehicles. The installation, according to the business partners, highlights a period of strong global momentum for AeroScout and MST in the mining industry.

AeroScout says its Asset Tracking and Management solution for mines leverages on-the-surface and underground Wi-Fi networks to deliver automated monitoring of equipment or worker location both underground at in surface facilities. The solution is claimed to be well-suited for mustering and worker safety, security and access control, truck and load haul dump vehicle tracking and mining equipment visibility.

The Wi-Fi tags, which can be worn by miners or mounted to vehicles and equipment, transmit information over a mine's standard Wi-Fi network to AeroScout's MobileView software, which provides a real-time visual representation of the assets in the mine. MobileView allows mining facilities to track and manage assets through an easy-to-use interface, a variety of reports and rules-based alerts.

In the past year, MST said it has successfully deployed mining solutions based on its ImPact wireless network and AeroScout's Unified Asset Visibility solutions at mines across five continents, including the Leeville mine; Barrick Gold's Goldstrike mine in Nevada, Xstrata's Beltana and Crinum East coal mines in Australia; Yunnan Copper’s Dahongshan copper mine in China; Agnico Eagle's Kittila mine in Finland; and at Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia.

Newmont's Leeville mine deployed 500 AeroScout Wi-Fi Tags, with 450 of those integrated in the ICCL miners' cap lamps. The remainder of the tags are used to monitor vehicles and other high value assets.

Overall, Leeville has an underground network consisting of 40 MST ImPact Wi-Fi POE access points and 45 ImPact wireless access point / fiber optic network switches. The access points relay tag transmissions to the network, as well as provide the backbone for VoIP phones. In addition to tracking personnel underground, the digital network allows uploading of enterprise data.

At the Beltana mine all workers wear cap lamps with integrated Wi-Fi Tags, enabling their location to be tracked over the ImPact Wi-Fi network installed by MST. The location of each worker can be viewed on a map using AeroScout's software, which also enables users to search for the location of specific workers at any given time. In the event of an emergency, the system can be used to automate the mustering process, ensuring that all workers in the mine are quickly and accurately accounted for at specific evacuation points.

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