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NSK and Timken join forces to source lower-cost bearings

Shanghai, China -- Apr. 9, 2002 -- The Timken Company and NSK Ltd. have agreed to form a joint venture that will bu...


Shanghai, China — Apr. 9, 2002 — The Timken Company and NSK Ltd. have agreed to form a joint venture that will build a plant near Shanghai, China, to manufacture certain tapered roller bearing product lines. The joint venture plant will specialize in the production of single-row tapered bearings that are used in medium- to high-volume applications, frequently in automotive and also in certain industrial applications.

Construction of the plant is to begin later in 2002, and production is scheduled to start early in 2004. Ownership of the joint venture, Timken-NSK Bearings (Suzhou) Co. Ltd., will be divided evenly between Timken and NSK.

“This initiative continues the transformation of Timken . It positions us to work more effectively with our global customers by establishing manufacturing capacity in Asia for small-size automotive product,” said James Griffith, president and chief operating officer. “It also continues our efforts to reduce our manufacturing costs by adding a low- cost source for these products. This joint venture with NSK will help both of us grow profitably as independent companies.”

“Both Timken and NSK are bearing industry leaders,” said Tetsuo Sekiya, president and chief executive officer of NSK Ltd., “and this joint venture will help both companies maintain their worldwide competitiveness. This partnership will enable us to combine our technical and management strengths in the production of bearings that are used widely.”

Equipment for the plant will come from a Timken plant in the United Kingdom that is closing, as well as from NSK operations in Japan. “The markets for these bearings are fiercely competitive,” said Sekiya. “To meet the demands of our customers, we must manufacture them in a total lowest cost environment.”

In April of 2001, Timken launched a manufacturing restructuring that includes rationalizing its plant operations to create a global network of factories focused on producing specific product lines or components. In addition, a major goal of the strategy is to reduce manufacturing costs by $100 million by the end of 2004.

“We are on track to achieve our cost-reduction goal. This joint venture will further contribute to reducing costs and increasing our global competitiveness,” said Griffith.

The new venture will supply Timken and NSK with bearings made to each company’s specifications. Each company will then market the product independently under their respective brands.

By Bill Roebuck, Editor