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Archive for September 3rd, 2009

Here is a good analysis on the business outlook from Reuters.

“BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The next few months could see more mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. manufacturing sector as memories of recent market highs fade and some smaller companies find they need financial backing.

Executives at top manufacturers, including United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), had hoped the recession would provide ample opportunities to scoop up bargains this year, but were stymied when potential targets balked at selling when stock prices were testing 13-year lows.

But all of that may be changing, particularly if small manufacturers find themselves scrambling for cash when demand recovers and they need to restart production lines and bring back staff.

“As volume comes back for many suppliers, many companies, this may actually be the stress point for them relative to their financing needs,” Patrick Campbell, chief financial officer of 3M Co (MMM.N), told investors on Wednesday.

“This could actually be the point where we start to see some companies that maybe become a little more distressed … We’ve got our eyes wide open on that.”

Industrial conglomerate Danaher Corp (DHR.N) said on Wednesday it plans to buy two makers of scientific instruments for a total of $1.1 billion in cash, including a unit of Canada’s MDS Inc (MDS.TO) and Life Technologies Corp’s (LIFE.O) stake in a joint venture with MDS.

FIXATED ON THE PAST

So far this year, U.S. companies have announced $516.3 billion in deals, according to Thomson Reuters data. That is down 49.1 percent from the same period in 2008.

As potential buyers see it, the biggest roadblock to getting deals done this year has been that sellers are fixated on the past value of their shares. The Standard & Poor’s capital goods index .GSPIC is down about 34 percent over the past year.

“A lot of players are still hung up with their 52-week high,” United Tech Chief Executive Louis Chenevert told an investor meeting this week.”

Read the full article here.

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