Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc (NYSE American: CMCL; AIM: CMCL; TSX: CAL)

Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc (the “Company” or “Caledonia” – https://www.commodity-tv.net/c/search_adv/?v=298787) announces that following the maturing of a long term incentive plan award on March 23, 2019 (i) a total of 53,087 securities in the Company have been issued to Caledonia’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Learmonth, and (ii) the Company has made a new long term incentive plan award to him.  The securities have been issued in the form of depositary interests representing shares in the Company.  Mr Learmonth now holds 149,775 depositary interests which represents an interest in approximately 1.39% of the share capital of the Company.

Application has been made by Caledonia for the admission of the depositary interests to trading on AIM and it is anticipated that trading in such securities will commence on March 28, 2019. 

Following issue of the shares underlying the depositary interests, the Company has a total number of shares in issue of 10,749,904 common shares of no par value each.  Caledonia has no shares in treasury; therefore, this figure may be used by holders of securities in the Company as the denominator for the calculations by which they determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the Company.

Further details of the transaction are set out in the notification below. 

Caledonia also announces that the Compensation Committee of the board of directors has made a new long term incentive plan award under the Company’s 2015 Omnibus Equity Incentive Compensation Plan (the “Plan”), as approved by shareholders on 14 May 2015, to Mr Learmonth with a grant value of USD170,000.

The award is in the form of Performance Units (“PSUs”) as defined in the Plan and constitutes the combined “Tranche 4 PSUs” and “Tranche 5 PSUs” in respect of 2019 and 2020 as set out in the announcement of the Company made on January 12, 2016.  The vesting date for the PSUs shall be January 11, 2022 in order to align with the vesting date of awards granted to other members of senior management on January 11, 2019.

The number of PSUs awarded is equal to the monetary value of the award divided by the “Fair Market Value” (as defined in the Plan) of the Company’s shares, being the greater of (i) the closing price of Caledonia’s shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the trading day preceding the date of the award or (ii) the volume-weighted average closing price of Caledonia’s shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the five days preceding the date of the award, converted to the USD equivalent based on the CAD/USD exchange rate for the 3 months immediately preceding the valuation date, i.e. approximately USD6.01.        

The final number of PSUs which vest on maturity of the awards will be adjusted to reflect the actual performance of the Company in terms of targeted gold production. If actual performance is less than 70% of target, no PSUs will vest; if actual performance is greater than 70% of target, the number of vesting PSUs will be adjusted pro rata on a linear basis, subject to a maximum of 200% of the initial target PSUs. Each PSU entitles the participant to receive the cash equivalent of the Fair Market Value of one Caledonia common share on the maturity of the award or alternatively to elect to receive some or all of the PSUs in the form of securities in the Company.

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Infinity secures 75% Ownership of San Jose Lithium Project

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Infinity increases ownership from 50% to 75% of the San Jose Lithium Project
  • Infinity and the Project are now well positioned to attract strategic investment
  • Movement from lithium carbonate to lithium hydroxide pathway has driven renegotiation of the JV – positive outcome optimally aligns project and partners
  • Local JV partner to receive reimbursement for previous expenditure and for transfer payments (this totals €1 million in staged payments until mid-2020)
  • Local JV partner retains preferred contractor rights ensuring alignment of goals and focus on project development

Infinity Lithium Corporation Limited (ASX:INF) (‘Infinity’, or ‘the Company’) http://www.commodity-tv.net/c/search_adv/?v=298809 is pleased to advise it has successfully completed a renegotiation of the San Jose Lithium Project (‘San Jose, or ‘the Project’) Joint Venture (‘JV’) agreement with local partner Valoriza Mineria S.A. (‘Valoriza Mineria’) resulting in the immediate acquisition of a further 25% in the JV entity Tecnolgia Extremena Del Lito S.L. (‘TEL’).

Infinity’s CEO and Managing Director, Ryan Parkin commented “Infinity is delighted to announce the progression of project ownership to 75% as we enter a period of increasing engagement of potential strategic partners and move towards the delivery of the San Jose Lithium Project pre-feasibility study.  European lithium-ion battery supply chain developments have recently accelerated. The ability to continue to align our goals to work collaboratively with our JV partners in progressing commercial discussions with key European and other industry participants provides immediate value to the Project. The resulting acceleration in project ownership reflects the alignment of the Project towards lithium hydroxide opportunities and the relevance of that product in one of the world’s largest electric vehicle markets”.

Commercial Terms:

As previously announced, under the original JV agreement (ASX announcement 14 June 2016) with Valoriza Mineria, Infinity was able to earn-in to a 75% interest through the delivery of a feasibility study on lithium carbonate production with an agreed budget of €2.5 million.  Valoriza Mineria was the preferred contractor for all works within the feasibility study and had completed some work including land access, public relations, and environmental base line studies.  The revised JV agreement terms now enables Infinity to assume 75% interest in the Project with the immediate payment of €250,000 and additional ongoing payment commitments totalling €750,000 payable within 14 months or by 13 May 2020.

The key commercial terms of the renegotiated JV agreement are contained in the Appendices of this announcement.

Strategic Importance of San Jose in the European LIB Supply Chain:

As the Company has advised, the lithium market is increasingly demanding lithium hydroxide to supply the growing lithium-ion battery (‘LIB’) industry.  San Jose is extremely well placed geographically to satisfy increasing European demand for battery grade lithium hydroxide and address increasingly important supply chain sustainability and carbon emission requirements.  Additionally, it benefits via its potential ability to deliver lithium hydroxide or other lithium battery chemicals directly from hard rock lithium resources without having to go through an intermediate lithium carbonate production stage.

The fully integrated San Jose Lithium Project, located in the Extremadura region of Spain, retains increasing strategic importance in the context of burgeoning lithium-ion battery investment in the European Union (‘EU’) and the United Kingdom (‘UK’).  The recently attended European Battery Association EBA250 conference in Brussels (ASX announcement 1 February 2019) noted the significant focus on raw materials and chemical processing capabilities in Europe, and the significant gap in the availability of lithium chemicals within Europe in its current environment. 

Maros Sefcovic (Vice President of the European Commission) recently noted that mines are opening or re-opening and that the EC “have also identified a gap linked to Europe’s refining capabilities for lithium.  We clearly have to cover this gap… because the demand for processed refined lithium will be quite big in Europe, so it makes sense to have lithium refining capacities here…. It’s only logical that we should have the whole value chain in Europe”.

The EC, through Mr Sefcovic, continue to progress addressing this key component essential for the European EV industry and the importance to consider both regularity and financial assistance “We are ready to discuss not only the regulatory aspects of course but also financial assistance – be it under the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) or under Public Private Partnerships with the European Investment Bank (EIB).”

A further consideration is the increasing importance of the environmental sustainability of supply and the carbon footprint of all aspects of the supply chain in the production of European EV (ASX announcement 12 March 2019).  San Jose is not only ideally located within the EU and thus logical advantages in the carbon footprint in terms of transportation and freight, it further benefits from the availability of key reagents in the industrial production process that are readily available within Spain.

APPENDIX 1: KEY COMMERCIAL TERMS

  • Immediate transfer of 25% interest whereby €250,000 is paid upon execution of the amended JV agreement, resulting in the immediate transfer of shares in TEL to Infinity’s wholly owned Spanish subsidiary Extremadura Mining S.A.
  • Ongoing additional staged payment commitments totalling €750,000 payable within 14 months or by 13 May 2020. Therefore, the total payment amounts payable in consideration of 25% project interest in TEL through the immediate and subsequent staged payments amounts to €1,000,000.
  • Infinity retains the right to forgo subsequent staged payments, revert to 50% project interest and earn-in to 75% through the delivery of a lithium chemicals feasibility study. The delivery of the feasibility study would be required within 18 months of Infinity’s election and notification provided to Valoriza Mineria to forgo subsequent staged payments.  Infinity retains the right to extend the delivery of the feasibility study for a further 12 months through payment of €100,000 in the event that the feasibility study was not delivered within the initial 18 month period.
  • The Agreement contains a mechanism in which project ownership can be increased to 100% by either a Put or Call Option held between parties. The Option has an exercise value of €10 million and lapses upon project development. The Put Option is only valid upon the Decision to Mine and the majority is payable from project sales revenue.
  • Valoriza Mineria to continue as preferred contractor through their globally recognised civil engineering and construction entities, continue to provide services in environmental, hydrological, social and in-country liaison.

APPENDIX 2: OWNERSHIP INTEREST IN TEL RETAINED BY SPANISH ENTITIES – STRONG ONGOING PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN EXTREMADURA MINING & VALORIZA MINERIA

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Infinity revises Executive Director remuneration to provide for milestone-based incentives

Infinity Lithium Corporation Limited (‘Infinity’, or ‘the Company’ – http://www.commodity-tv.net/c/search_adv/?v=298809) wishes to advise that, as a result of its annual remuneration review, it is seeking to implement an incentive scheme for Executive Directors.  These incentives are performance based and are designed to align a proportion of the Executives’ remuneration with value creation and shareholder returns.

The San Jose Lithium Project (‘San Jose’) is an advanced, large lithium project in the European Union.  The rapid evolution in cathode technologies and the lithium chemicals market has resulted in an increasing focus on opportunities for lithium hydroxide and in particular, the availability to provide product for Europe from non-Chinese based converters.  The proximity of San Jose to growing European markets provides significant strategic value to European cathode producers and lithium-ion battery cell manufacturers, as Europe addresses surety of supply to support what is projected to be the 2nd largest electric vehicle market globally.

It has been determined that, subject to shareholder and any necessary regulatory approval, the Executive Directors, Ryan Parkin and Vincent Ledoux Pedailles be issued with ordinary shares in the event of successfully securing a material offtake contract for lithium chemicals and also obtaining significant strategic investment from related battery and/or automotive industry participants that advance the San Jose project.  A Share Option package will also be included in Ryan Parkin’s package.  Full details of the proposal are outlined in Appendix A.

The Company will put these incentive packages to shareholders for consideration at the next general meeting to be held at some point in 2019.

For further inquiries please contact;

Kevin Tomlinson
Non-Executive Chairman
T: +61 (8) 6461 6350

Nick Morrison
Namcomm Consulting – Principal
T: +61 (0) 424 823 100
E: nick@namcomm.com.au

In Europe:
Swiss Resource Capital AG
Jochen Staiger
info@resource-capital.ch
www.resource-capital.ch

APPENDIX A

Ryan Parkin milestone incentives:

  • Performance – The higher of either A$50,000 in value of ordinary shares at 15-day VWAP prior to date of ASX announcement or 750,000 ordinary shares for achieving the milestone of entering into an offtake deal/ MOU/ LOI achieved on or before 31 March 2020 (ordinary shares will be issued subject to Company capacity to issue the shares and shareholder and regulatory approval if required; should this not be received, the payment will be made in cash to the value of shares at the time).
  • Performance – The higher of either A$50,000 in value of ordinary shares at 15-day VWAP prior to date of ASX announcement or 750,000 ordinary shares for achieving the milestone of attracting and raising funds through the engagement of a Tier 1 industry or strategic investor before 31 March 2020 (ordinary shares will be issued subject to Company capacity to issue the shares and shareholder and regulatory approval if required; should this not be received, the payment will be made in cash to the value of shares at the time).
  • The Infinity Board will consider a further discretionary performance bonus up to a value not to exceed that which would be awarded for the completion of an offtake or strategic investment bonus – in the event that offtake, strategic investor and project funding commitment be achieved through the engagement of key stakeholder or that there is material progress on the permitting and approvals component of the San Jose project.
  • 1,000,000 Options to buy ordinary shares to Ryan Parkin or a nominee. These will have a 3-year term with a strike price calculated to be a 30% premium to the closing share price on the date of shareholder approval and issue.  These are employee options which lapse after 90 days should his service terminate with the Company.

Vincent Ledoux Pedailles milestone incentives:

  • Performance – A$50,000 in value of ordinary shares at 15-day VWAP for achieving the milestone of entering into an offtake deal/ MOU/ LOI achieved on or before 31 March 2020 (ordinary shares will be issued subject to Company capacity to issue the shares and shareholder and regulatory approval if required; should this not be received, the payment will be made in cash). 
  • Performance – A$50,000 in value of ordinary shares at 15-day VWAP for achieving the milestone of attracting and raising funds through the engagement of a Tier 1 strategic investor (ordinary shares will be issued subject to Company capacity to issue the shares and shareholder and regulatory approval if required; should this not be received, the payment will be made in cash).
  • The Infinity Board will consider a further discretionary performance bonus up to a value not to exceed that which would be awarded for the completion of an offtake or strategic investment bonus – in the event that offtake, strategic investor and project funding commitment be achieved through the engagement of key stakeholder or that there is material progress on the permitting and approvals component of the San Jose project.

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Sales grow despite difficult market conditions, margin decrease

  • Revenue grows 5.1 percent at constant currency in the first nine months
  • EBIT margin before special items for the same period at 10.7 percent (prior year: 11.4 percent)
  • Performance declines in both Automotive divisions, Industrial division business remains strong
  • Free cash flow before in- and outflows for M&A activities of 127 million euros below prior year (247 million euros)
  • Increased focus on discipline regarding cost and capital

Global automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler presented its interim report for the first nine months of 2018 today. The Schaeffler Group’s revenue for the reporting period amounted to approximately 10.7 billion euros (prior year: approximately 10.5 billion euros). At constant currency, revenue increased by 5.1 percent during the period, 3.7 percent in the third quarter. As was the case for the first half of 2018, all three divisions and all four regions contributed to the group’s revenue growth at constant currency during the first nine months, with the Greater China region once more reporting the largest revenue constant currency growth rate of 14.3 percent.

The Schaeffler Group generated earnings before financial result and income taxes (EBIT) before special items of 1,150 million euros (prior year: 1,196 million euros) in the first nine months. This represents an EBIT margin before special items of 10.7 percent (prior year: 11.4 percent). EBIT before special items for the third quarter was 355 million euros (prior year: 416 million euros), representing an EBIT margin before special items of 10.1 percent (prior year: 12.1 percent).

Net income attributable to shareholders for the reporting period was 766 million euros, nearly on par with the prior year level (of 791 million euros). Earnings per common non-voting share were 1.16 euros (prior year: 1.19 euros).

Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG, commented on the performance of the business in the first nine months and in the third quarter: “The third quarter has once again demonstrated how important it is for us to be an automotive as well as an industrial supplier. While our Automotive OEM business is affected by the weak market trend in China, our Industrial business continued to do well during the third quarter. This division grew its revenue grew faster than the market and generated an EBIT margin before special items of 12.1 percent.”

Automotive OEM revenue growth less dynamic due to market conditions

The Automotive OEM division generated approximately 6.8 billion euros (prior year: approximately 6.7 billion euros) in revenue during the reporting period. At constant currency, revenue increased by 4.3 percent compared to the prior year, a growth rate 3.5 percentage points above the 0.8 percent average growth in production volumes of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles for the reporting period. Following the encouraging revenue trend in the first six months, the Automotive OEM division reported less dynamic revenue growth of 3.2 percent in the third quarter due to the persistently challenging environment in the automotive sector. In the third quarter, which saw global automobile production decline by 2 percent, outperformance amounted to 5.2 percentage points.

The lower growth rate was mainly attributable to weaker demand in the Europe and Greater China regions. In Europe, this weaker demand was mainly due to production delays resulting from the changeover to the new WLTP emissions standard, while China felt the effect of consumer restraint due to the trade conflict with the U.S. and stricter lending practices. All four of the Automotive OEM division’s business divisions contributed to its revenue growth on a nine months basis, with the E-Mobility business division once more reporting the highest revenue growth rate at constant currency, 13.6 percent. Despite the less dynamic growth of the Automotive OEM division’s revenue in the Greater China region in the third quarter, this region still showed the highest growth rate of 9.5 percent, followed by 5.7 percent in the Americas region, 2.4 percent in Asia/Pacific, and 2.2 percent in Europe.

The division generated 596 million euros (prior year: 712 million euros) in EBIT before special items in the first nine months, bringing the EBIT margin before special items for the same period to 8.8 percent, less than the prior year margin of 10.7 percent. The decrease was primarily attributable to ramp-up costs, project delays in China, increased production costs – due to factors including increased raw materials prices – and the impact of the revenue mix. According to the latest full-year guidance for 2018 issued October 30, 2018, the division aims to achieve constant currency revenue growth of 3.5 to 4.5 percent (previously: 4.5 to 5.5 percent) and an EBIT margin before special items of 8 to 8.5 percent (previously: 8.5 to 9.5 percent).

Automotive Aftermarket revenue drops temporarily in the third quarter

Following a solid first six months overall, the Automotive Aftermarket division reported a drop in revenue for the third quarter compared to the prior year quarter. At constant currency, revenue declined by 3.0 percent. Based on the first nine months of 2018, the division expanded its revenue by 1.3 percent at constant currency, generating 1,401 million euros in revenue (prior year: 1,434 million euros). The decrease in third-quarter revenue was primarily attributable to strong growth in the Europe and Americas regions in the prior year quarter. As was the case for the first six months, the Greater China (39.0 percent) and Asia/Pacific (16.0 percent) regions reported the strongest constant currency revenue growth for the first nine months, followed by Europe (1.9 percent). Revenue in the Americas region on an adjusted basis declined (by 8 percent) due to non-recurring additional requirements of an Original Equipment Services (OES) customer in the prior year period.

The Automotive Aftermarket division’s EBIT before special items for the first nine months amounted to 256 million euros (prior year: 278 million euros). Based on this EBIT, the EBIT margin before special items was 18.3 percent (prior year: 19.4 percent). Reasons for the decline from prior year include temporarily higher costs of selling and logistics activities. Based on the adjusted full-year guidance issued October 30, 2018, the group now expects revenue growth for the Automotive Aftermarket division of 1.5 to 2.5 percent (previously: 3 to 4 percent) at constant currency and an EBIT margin before special items of 17 to 17.5 percent (previously: 16.5 to 17.5 percent) in 2018.

Performance of Industrial business remains encouraging in the third quarter

During the third quarter, the Industrial division significantly increased its revenue to 854 million euros (prior year: 790 million euros), which represents an increase of 9.4 percent at constant currency. This increase brought revenue for the first nine months of 2018 to approximately 2.5 billion euros (prior year: approximately 2.4 billion euros). At constant currency, revenue growth for the reporting period amounted to 9.8 percent and was primarily driven by Industrial Distribution. The double-digit constant currency revenue growth rates generated by the raw materials, power transmission, railway, and offroad sector clusters contributed considerably to the higher revenue as well. Like all of the sectors, all of the regions increased their revenue, as well. The largest growth rate at constant currency was reported by the Greater China region (29.4 percent), ahead of Asia/Pacific (8.7 percent), Americas (8 percent), and Europe (6 percent).

The Industrial division generated 298 million euros (prior year: 206 million euros) in EBIT before special items for the first nine months, representing an EBIT margin before special items of 11.8 percent (prior year: 8.7 percent). The improved margin is attributable to the favorable impact of economies of scale as well as to efficiency gains and cost savings resulting from the program “CORE”. On October 30, 2018, the Schaeffler Group confirmed its full-year guidance for the Industrial division’s constant currency revenue growth for 2018, which it had raised on September 19, 2018, of 8 to 9 percent. The target for the EBIT margin before special items of 10 to 11 percent has now been refined to 10.5 to 11 percent.

Positive free cash flow in the third quarter

At 201 million euros (prior year: 333 million euros), free cash flow before in and outflows for M&A activities for the third quarter was positive. For the first nine months, it amounted to 127 million euros, falling short of the prior year level (247 million euros), primarily due to lower earnings quality and the higher amount of capital tied up in inventories. Capital expenditures (capex) on property, plant and equipment and intangible assets for the first nine months of 857 million euros were slightly below the prior year level (873 million euros), representing a capex ratio of 8 percent of revenue (prior year: 8.3 percent).

Dietmar Heinrich, CFO of Schaeffler AG, said: “We are aiming to maintain a capex ratio of approximately 8 percent as at year-end as well. For this purpose, we will manage our capital expenditures restrictively in the fourth quarter. In combination with the reduction of inventory levels, this will have a favorable effect on free cash flow”.

Net financial debt as at September 30, 2018, increased by 274 million euros to 2,644 million euros, lowering the gearing ratio, i.e. the ratio of net financial debt to shareholders’ equity, to 91 percent (December 31, 2017: 93 percent). As at September 30, 2018, the Schaeffler Group had total assets of approximately 12.3 billion euros (prior year: approximately 11.5 billion euros) and employed a workforce of 92,836 (prior year: 89,359), an increase of approximately 3.9 percent.

Based on the adjusted full-year guidance issued October 30, 2018, the Schaeffler Group now anticipates revenue growth of 4 to 5 percent (previously 5 to 6 percent) at constant currency, an EBIT margin before special items of 9.5 to 10.5 percent (previously 10.5 to 11.5 percent), and free cash flow before cash in- and outflows for M&A activities of approximately 300 million euros (previously approximately 450 million euros).

“The situation of the global automotive industry has deteriorated further over the past seven weeks, particularly in China and also in Europe. Against this backdrop, and although our Industrial business enables us to partially offset this deterioration, it is essential that we manage our business as proactively and carefully as possible and align our resources with the changing market environment. Discipline regarding cost and capital is what counts now”, stated Klaus Rosenfeld.

Forward-looking statements and projections

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions could adversely affect the outcome and financial consequences of the plans and events described herein. No one undertakes any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should not place any undue reliance on forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date of this press release. Statements contained in this press release regarding past trends or events should not be taken as representation that such trends or events will continue in the future. The cautionary statements set out above should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that Schaeffler, or persons acting on its behalf, may issue.

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World Energy Day on October 22: Is Germany the European energy-saving champion?

Is Germany the European energy-saving champion? According to a survey by E.ON and KantarEMNID, at least 14 percent of Germans believe so, but the reality is rather different. Of the ten European countries covered in the survey, Romania takes first place with a primary energy consumption of 18,515 kilowatt hours (kWh) per head each year.

Second and third places go to Turkey and Hungary, with an annual consumption of 19,271 and 28,296 kWh, respectively. Those questioned in the survey believed – entirely incorrectly – that these places would go to Denmark (16 percent) and Germany (11 percent).

They also placed Hungary – which in reality comes in third – in last place with just one percent. Only two percent of those surveyed thought that Romania, which actually uses the least energy, was Europe’s energy-saving champion.

All those questioned believed the title should go to a nation in the north of the continent. On average, across all the countries in the survey, 26 percent believe Sweden is the best at saving energy, hence it was placed top in nine out of ten countries among those questioned by E.ON and KantarEMNID – who were therefore entirely wrong. Incidentally, the Danes are the only ones to be firmly convinced – likewise incorrectly – that their own nation takes the title, with a total of 34 percent.

These results are part of the “Living in Europe” study, for which E.ON and KantarEMNID questioned around 10,000 people in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Sweden, Turkey and the UK. The energy consumption figures are based on the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (2015), published by the Federal Statistical Office.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by E.ON Group Management and other information currently available to E.ON. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. E.ON SE does not intend, and does not assume any liability whatsoever, to update these forward-looking statements or to align them to future events or developments.

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Software AG To Announce Latest Product Releases at Live Virtual Conference

Software AG (Frankfurt TecDAX: SOW) today announced it will unveil its latest product releases and innovations at the 2018 Product Release virtual conference. This two-and-a-half hour event occurs over three days on October 9, 10 and 11 and across three time zones. This annual conference attracts thousands of customers and partners as well as industry analysts and journalists from more than 75 countries.

Sanjay Brahmawar, Chief Executive Officer, Software AG, noted: “I am delighted with the new product releases and acquistions that we will be unveiling at our 2018 Product Release Virtual Conference. On top of this, we have brought together some of the brightest minds in digital transformation to introduce the latest news in Cloud and Hybrid Integration, API Management, IoT, Advanced Data Analytics, and Machine Learning. We will also present modern developer capabilities across our product portfolio, including Cloud Integration, Micro-Gateway, DevOps, Containerisation Software, Microservices, and much more.”

Brahmawar, who joined as CEO in August and Dr. Wolfram Jost, Software AG’s Chief Technology Officer will share their views on the company’s vision, strategy and product landscape. They will also offer their unique perspectives and insights into the technologies that are driving digitalisation and discuss how the new product capabilities align with the demands of the digital world.

In addtion, the breakout sessions will provide a deep dive into each product area, where the new innovations and capabilites will be presented, demonstrated and discussed. Attendees can take part in live Q&A with experts, gain exclusive access to resources, and download free trial software. 

Dr. Wolfram Jost said: “This event will demonstrate why Cumulocity IoT was ranked a ‘strong performer’ and a leading vendor for device management, how our Digital Business Platform can deliver a 324% return on investment, the background to why our API Management was named a leader, and many other compelling facts about Software AG’s best-in-class portfolio. And, with the latest release of our B2B Cloud, we will be the only company who can deliver a full integrated Integration + API + B2B cloud service.”

The event will also spotlight how Software AG and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the exclusive event sponsor, are partnering to make it easier for enterprises to get started in the Cloud.

For more information, review the agenda or register for the event. Participation is free of charge.

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New applications in the financial world with KI

The world is becoming ever more complex, which requires an ever more sophisticated use of human resources. High-quality computer systems can support this, which also applies to applications that require intelligence. AI gives computers human and cognitive abilities, which can lead to an increase in productivity. Like a human being, the computer stores knowledge from experience and can then – based on appropriate algorithms – independently find solutions for new and unknown problems.

Profitable applications with KI
"Artificial intelligence will play a key role for German industry and herald the second wave of digitization," predicted Andreas Dengler of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. Many industries are currently inspired by AI and align their value chains accordingly. The financial sector is still looking for profitable applications that it can open up with AI. To date, there are almost no applications that are successfully used in the financial world through self-learning technologies. Despite previous attempts to achieve better performance with AI, for example in the fund sector, both established financial institutions and Fintechs are still looking for finally profitable applications.

Epochal upheaval with KI?
AI has already gained enormous importance in society and has become an integral part of our daily lives. Many applications have a great influence on how we deal with our everyday life, how we communicate or how we work. In the financial world, AI could bring about an epoch-making upheaval when machines take on independent tasks for financial service providers. For example, recurring processes can be automated, recommendations for action provided and comprehensive and complex analyses created and even evaluated. There is particularly great potential for the use of AI in plant consulting. There are numerous application scenarios to support all process steps. From the evaluation of the investor about the appropriate product selection and the respective interactions with the advisor. The interaction of the investment and consulting processes is of immense relevance here, because concrete product recommendations for the end customer can be derived from these. Today, algorithms based on historical data are already an indispensable support for plant management. One of the biggest advantages of AI over human recommendations for action is that the technology can examine larger volumes of data and is ultimately also free of emotional sensations.

Career profiles undergoing change
The use of AI in the financial market, especially in investment consulting, will also have a significant impact on role models. The specialists and managers in Asset Management will take on a number of tasks that until now have tended to be performed by IT specialists. It will no longer be enough to recommend the respective securities and key figures – the service portfolio of the consultants will become significantly broader.

Ultimately, Artificial Intelligence brings with it an enormous shift for many careers throughout the labour market. It is important to remain flexible and open to new ideas. If you want to reorientate yourself professionally, you should have a high degree of empathy, a good feeling for different situations and people and also be able to master the balancing act between operation and technical innovation. It goes without saying that competent employees are also open to having new working methods handled by KI.

Author:
Henning Sander, Head of the Banking Business Unit, Hager Unternehmensberatung

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IBM Study: Responding to Cybersecurity Incidents Still a Major Challenge for Businesses

IBM (NYSE: IBM) Security today announced the results of a global study exploring the factors and challenges of being a Cyber Resilient organization. The study was conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Resilient and found that 77 percent of respondents admit they do not have a formal cyber security incident response plan (CSIRP) applied consistently across their organization. Nearly half of the 2800 respondents reported that their incident response plan is either informal/ad hoc or completely non-existent.

Despite this lack of formal planning, 72 percent of organizations report feeling more Cyber Resilient today than they were last year. Highly resilient organizations (61 percent) attribute their confidence to their ability to hire skilled personnel – but organizations need both technology and people to be Cyber Resilient. In fact, 60 percent of respondents consider a lack of investment in AI and machine learning as the biggest barrier to Cyber Resilience.

This confidence may be misplaced, with the analysis revealing that 57 percent of respondents said the time to resolve an incident has increased, while 65 percent reported the severity of the attacks has increased. These areas represent some of the key factors impacting overall cyber resiliency. These problems are further compounded by just 31 percent of those surveyed having an adequate Cyber Resilience budget in place and difficulty retaining and hiring IT Security professionals (77 percent).

“Organizations may be feeling more Cyber Resilient today, and the biggest reason why was hiring skilled personnel,” said Ted Julian, VP of Product Management and Co-Founder, IBM Resilient. “Having the right staff in place is critical but arming them with the most modern tools to augment their work is equally as important. A response plan that orchestrates human intelligence with machine intelligence is the only way security teams are going to get ahead of the threat and improve overall Cyber Resilience.”

The lack of a consistent CSIRP is a persistent trend each year despite a key finding from IBM’s 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study. The cost of a data breach was nearly $1 million lower on average when organizations were able to contain the breach in less than thirty days – highlighting the value and importance of having a strong CSIRP.

Conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Resilient, “The 2018 Cyber Resilient Organization” is the third annual benchmark study on Cyber Resilience – an organization’s ability to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of cyberattacks. The global survey features insight from more than 2,800 security and IT professionals from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Australia.

“A sharp focus in a few crucial areas can make a big difference when it comes to Cyber Resilience,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon. “Ensuring the security function is equipped with a proper incident response plan, staffing, and budget will lead to a stronger security posture and better overall Cyber Resilience.”

The executive summary of these findings can be downloaded here.

Other takeaways from the study include:

Staffing for Cyber Resilience-related activities is inadequate
o The second-biggest barrier to Cyber Resilience was having insufficient skilled personnel dedicated to cyber security.
o 29 percent of respondents reported having ideal staffing to achieve Cyber Resilience.
o 50 percent say their organization’s current CISO or security leader has been in place for three years or less. Twenty-three percent report they do not currently have a CISO or security leader.

Organizations are not ready for GDPR
o The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect in May 2018 and will mandate that organizations have an incident response plan in place.
o 77 percent of respondents do not have an incident response plan that is applied consistently across the entire enterprise.
o Most countries surveyed do not report confidence in their ability to comply with GDPR.

About IBM Resilient

IBM Resilient is the industry’s leader in helping organizations thrive in the face of any cyberattack or business crisis. IBM Resilient’s proven Incident Response Platform (IRP) empowers security teams to analyze, respond to, and mitigate incidents faster, more intelligently, and more efficiently. The Resilient IRP is the industry’s only complete IR orchestration and automation platform, enabling teams to integrate and align people, processes, and technologies into a single, open incident response hub. With Resilient, security teams can have best-in-class response capabilities. IBM Resilient has 300 global customers, including 60 of the Fortune 500, and hundreds of partners globally. Learn more at www.resilientsystems.com.

About IBM Security

IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM X-Force® research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research, development and delivery organizations, monitors 35 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries, and has been granted more than 8,000 security patents worldwide. For more information, please check www.ibm.com/security, follow IBMSecurityon Twitter or visit the IBM Security Intelligence blog.

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Schaeffler increases net income by 14 percent in 2017

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  • 2017 revenue increases by 5.9 percent at constant currency
  • 2017 EBIT margin before special items at 11.3 percent (prior year: 12.7 percent)
  • Net income increases by approximately 14 percent to 980 million euros
  • Approximately 1.3 billion euros invested, 3,500 new jobs created
  • Net financial debt further reduced, quality of balance sheet further improved
  • Program for the future “Agenda 4 plus One” on track, three divisions going forward
  • Outlook 2018 positive despite imponderables

Global automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler increased its revenue to 14.0 billion euros (prior year: 13.3 billion euros) in 2017, growing by 5.9 percent at constant currency. The company’s EBIT margin for 2017 amounted to 11.3 percent (prior year: 12.7 percent). The decrease is primarily due to expenses for the program for the future “Agenda 4 plus One”. Net income attributable to shareholders increased by approximately 14 percent to 980 million euros (prior year: 859 million euros) nonetheless, the highest ever in the history of the Schaeffler Group.

In 2017, the Schaeffler Group increased its capital expenditures by 127 million euros to 1,273 million euros (prior year: 1,146 million euros) and created approximately 3,500 new jobs. The number of employees rose to more than 90,000 (prior year: approximately 86,700) by the end of 2017. Free cash flow for 2017 came in at 488 million euros (prior year: 735 million euros) due to the high level of capital expenditures, and the company further reduced its net financial debt. With its program for the future “Agenda 4 plus One”, the Schaeffler Group is firmly aligning itself toward the future. Despite current imponderables, the outlook for the year 2018 remains generally positive.

Revenue increases by 5.9 percent at constant currency

Both of the company’s divisions and all four of its regions contributed to the encouraging revenue trend in 2017. While Automotive division revenue increased to 10.9 billion euros (prior year: approximately 10.3 billion euros), representing a constant currency growth rate of 5.9 percent, the Industrial division grew its revenue to approximately 3.1 billion euros in 2017. At constant currency, this represents a growth rate of 5.7 percent.

Thanks to the strong second half of the year, the Automotive division has once again grown faster than the market – global production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles – for the full year. Given market growth of approximately 2.1 percent in 2017, the division has outperformed the market by 3.8 percent. The strong growth of the Automotive division was driven by both Automotive OEM (up 6.5 percent at constant currency) and Automotive Aftermarket (up 3.2 percent at constant currency). The Industrial division has returned to a growth path, with industrial applications especially in the “power transmission” (including electric motors, hydraulics, and transmissions), “offroad” (agricultural engineering and construction machinery), and “raw materials” (raw material extraction and processing) sectors  contributing double-digit growth rates.

All regions of the Schaeffler Group contributed to the increase in revenue in 2017. The Greater China region once again turned in the highest constant currency growth rate of 24.1 percent. Asia/Pacific was up 5.6 percent at constant currency. In the Americas region, revenue was up 4.6 percent at constant currency, while Europe expanded by 1.4 percent at constant currency.

2017 EBIT margin before special items at 11.3 percent (prior year: 12.7 percent)

Earnings before financial result and income taxes (EBIT) before special items were 1,584 million euros (prior year: 1,700 million euros), resulting in an EBIT margin before special items of 11.3 percent (prior year: 12.7 percent). Special items of 56 million euros consisted mainly of restructuring expenses. The lower EBIT margin is largely due to the additional expenditures related to the program for the future “Agenda 4 plus One”. These expenditures amounted to approximately 160 million euros or about 1.1 percent of revenue. The program for the future consisting of 20 initiatives is designed to align the Schaeffler Group toward the future for the long term.

Net income increases by approximately 14 percent to 980 million euros

Despite the adverse impact from operations, net income attributable to shareholders increased by approximately 14 percent to 980 million euros (prior year: 859 million euros) since the financial result improved. That is the highest net income the Schaeffler Group has generated to date. Based on the encouraging results of operations, the Board of Managing Directors is proposing to raise the dividend by 5 cents to 55 cents per common nonvoting share. This represents a dividend payout ratio of approximately 35 percent (prior year: approximately 34 percent) of net income attributable to shareholders before special items.

Approximately 1.3 billion euros invested, 3,500 new jobs created

The Schaeffler Group expanded its capital expenditures by 127 million euros to 1,273 million euros (prior year: 1,146 million euros). This resulted in a capex ratio, or capital expenditures as a percentage of consolidated revenue, of 9.1 percent (prior year: 8.6 percent).

The Schaeffler Group has also generated 3,489 new jobs in 2017. As at December 31, 2017, the group had 90,151 employees worldwide, 4 percent more than in the prior year. The headcount in Germany increased by about 500 to 31,700 employees.

Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG, stated: “In 2017, the Schaeffler Group has invested more than ever before. These investments, including those under our program for the future ‘Agenda 4 plus One’, secure the company’s continuing profitable growth and value creation. They are also the basis for bringing our EBIT before special items back to its longstanding average of 12 to 13 percent and for achieving the financial ambitions we have set for 2020.”

Net financial debt further reduced, quality of balance sheet further improved

The company lowered its net financial debt by approximately 266 million euros over the course of 2017. Net financial debt amounted to 2,370 million euros as at December 31, 2017 (prior year: 2,636 million euros). This decrease has improved the net debt to EBITDA ratio before special items, i.e. the ratio of net financial debt to EBITDA before special items, from 1.1x to 1.0x in 2017.

Free cash flow for 2017 came in at 488 million euros (prior year: 735 million euros). This figure includes approximately 27 million euros in net cash outflows for M&A activities. Excluding these outflows, free cash flow was slightly higher than the guidance for the full year 2017 of approximately 500 million euros.

“We were able to further reduce our net financial debt and thus create additional financial flexibility for the Schaeffler Group in 2017. This is essential to our ability to grow externally in the future, as well,” said Dietmar Heinrich, CFO of Schaeffler AG.

Program for the future “Agenda 4 plus One” on track, three divisions going forward

In 2016, Schaeffler developed and started its program for the future, “Agenda 4 plus One”, which is designed to position the Schaeffler Group for success in meeting the challenges of the future, thus laying the foundation for continued profitable long-term growth. In 2017, the program was expanded to 20 initiatives and its implementation accelerated.

In addition, the Schaeffler Group has a new corporate structure. The Automotive Aftermarket was added as the company’s third division along with Automotive OEM and Industrial effective January 01, 2018. The new division is headed up by Michael Söding, CEO Automotive Aftermarket. The three divisions of the Schaeffler Group will in future be managed from divisional headquarters located in Buehl, Langen, and Schweinfurt. The Automotive OEM division will be headquartered in Buehl. The new Automotive Aftermarket division is managed from Langen. The Industrial division continues to be located in Schweinfurt. The corporate head office of the Schaeffler Group is in Herzogenaurach. This new decentralized structure shapes the Schaeffler Group’s future, makes it even more market-oriented, simplifies the company’s structures, and speeds up decision-making.

The company is also still consistently pursuing its “One Schaeffler” approach. With one common strategy “Mobility for tomorrow”, a uniform remuneration system, four common values, and one common corporate brand “Schaeffler”. Please refer to the second press release “Schaeffler pushes ahead with key future program” for further details.

Outlook 2018 positive despite imponderables

Despite the imponderables affecting 2018, the Schaeffler Group expects its revenue to grow by 5 to 6 percent excluding the impact of currency translation. In addition, the company expects to generate an EBIT margin before special items of 10.5 to 11.5 percent in 2018. The group also anticipates approximately 450 million euros in free cash flow before cash in- and outflows for M&A activities in 2018.

The Schaeffler Group anticipates that its Automotive OEM division will continue to outperform the global automobile production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, expected to expand by about 2 percent, in 2018. Based on this anticipated outperformance, the Schaeffler Group expects its Automotive OEM division to generate revenue growth excluding the impact of translation of 6 to 7 percent (2017: 6.5 percent). This expectation is supported by orders won in the 2017 reporting period, known as lifetime sales, of 11.5 billion euros. The company also expects an EBIT margin before special items of between 9.5 and 10.5 percent for 2018 (2017: 10.8 percent) for the Automotive OEM division.

Based on stable growth in the global vehicle population and a nearly unchanged average vehicle age, the Aftermarket business will continue to grow as well. Based on its own observation of the market, the group expects the Automotive Aftermarket division to generate revenue growth – excluding the impact of currency translation – of 3 to 4 percent (2017: 3.2 percent) and an EBIT margin before special items of 16.5 to 17.5 percent in 2018 (2017: 19.0 percent).

In the Industrial division, an encouraging trend in order intake combined with the economic environment in certain sectors suggests a further increase in revenue in 2018. Based on these considerations, the company expects its Industrial division to generate 3 to 4 percent (2017: 5.7 percent) in revenue growth in 2018, excluding the impact of currency translation. In addition, the Industrial division anticipates generating an EBIT margin before special items of between 9 and 10 percent (2017: 8.0 percent) in 2018.

In closing, Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO, said: “We have decided to further accelerate implementation of our ‘Agenda 4 plus One’ with its 20 initiatives in 2018. With this program, we are well equipped to actively shape the challenges of the future. In the interest of our customers and business partners, we want to create value and increase our competitiveness. To do that, we want to and have to become more agile as well as quicker and bolder.”

Our annual report is available at:

http://www.schaeffler-annual-report.com

Forward-looking statements and projections

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions could adversely affect the outcome and financial consequences of the plans and events described herein. No one undertakes any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should not place any undue reliance on forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date of this press release. Statements contained in this press release regarding past trends or events should not be taken as representation that such trends or events will continue in the future. The cautionary statements set out above should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that Schaeffler, or persons acting on its behalf, may issue.

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E-Mobility picks up speed

Electro mobility is the definitive key technology for the sustainable transport system of the future. The policy-assisted development of E-mobility is moving in the right direction. The automotive industry and its suppliers, however still find themselves in a dilemma regarding the design and project planning of their production and assembly systems. Uncertainties in planning for volume and unknown practical values continue to be the greatest challenges.

“This cutting-edge sector faces a conflict regarding the planning of assembly systems. The chosen technology must be able to flexibly adapt to increased capacities resulting from rising volume, reaching all the way up to fully automated systems. However, today’s assembly of smaller quantities must also ensure top processing reliability, because – as always in vehicle manufacture – errors in assembly are a real danger to life and limb”, explains Jürgen Hierold, Sales Manager at the machine builder DEPRAG SCHULZ GMBH u. CO. from Amberg, Germany.

E-mobility imposes certain requirements on the assembly process: top processing reliability for safety-related components, high flexibility due to the wide variety and targeted reliable electro-static discharge (ESD capability) of system components utilised. In addition, these components require an assembly environment which fulfils the guidelines of technical cleanliness and also scores highly on ergonomic aspects. The customer may face difficulties in coming up with an economical solution to this complexity.

“That, which for the customer may seem difficult to solve, can be realised cost-effectively with our in-house standard components and solutions. Our components are already all coordinated and compatible with one another. Integration runs smoothly and there are no time delays, in contrast to situations where the customer needs to align and adjust components from varied manufacturers” explains Jürgen Hierold. All components, such as sensor-controlled screwdrivers, feeding systems, position control portals or stands, electronic control and evaluation systems, tool change supervision, pick & place units, etc. can be selected from the company’s standard programme.

The automation specialists at DEPRAG offer flexible assembly solutions for all grades, which can all be adapted to the current market situation: from components and manual work stations, up to semi or fully-automatic assembly systems. This flexibility specifically counteracts planning uncertainties and is continually responsive to modification demands.

One such guarantee of success is the “intelligent manual work station”. It can be flexibly adjusted to any economic situation and is particularly beneficial if automatization appears uneconomical. This is particularly relevant for E-mobility where production rate trends are difficult to predict. For the assembly of E-mobility components, it is preferable to opt for a flexible, upgradeable assembly line with intelligent manual work stations which combine manual handling with top processing reliability.

Screw assemblies of vehicle manufacture elements are principally category A screw joints in accordance with VDI standard 2862. Processing reliability is the top priority and all processing steps must be documented and monitored. This is true for fully automatic systems as well as manual work stations which are equipped with position control portals made from high quality steel profiles. These precisely control the screwdriving procedure and ensure the reliable vertical guidance of the EC-servo screwdriver. The operator is guided step by step through the screwdriving task: The sensor technology activates the appropriate screwdriving parameters for each screw position, releases the fasteners, indicates the required bit change for the screw position, monitors the screw assembly and evaluates the screwdriving results. The portal can be adjusted to be used in a seated or standing work station using the height-adjustable work surface.

Sword feeders are used for the feeding of varied fasteners. Jürgen Hierold: “For this sector, we use feeding technology which fulfils the requirements of technical cleanliness. In contrast to vibratory spiral feeders, only low friction is generated during the transport of fasteners. In addition, at the points where friction can occur, vacuum fittings are connected. Damaging dirt particles are largely eliminated through suction.”

DEPRAG is known for their user-friendly and self-explanatory control and measurement technology, which controls and documents the assembly processes. The tried and tested software “recognises” the different screw sizes and types, the preset parameters and the tightening procedures to be used, as well as the tightening tool required for each position. The screw assembly sequence is set out in detail. Whether torque or angle tightening procedures, friction value procedures, clamp force control or special tightening procedures, the operator uses the clear and coherent touch screen to precisely record whether the screwdriving task has been carried out successfully.

It is not only the control and measurement technology which guarantees excellent interaction between man and machine (HMI). The MINIMAT®-EC servo screwdriver with proven sensor-controlled screwdriving technology even gives the operator the option of push-to-start or button start. The screwdriver is extremely smooth due to the bearing on the position control portal and the reduction of mass. Operator fatigue is reduced to a minimum. The ergonomic screwdriver handle is also instrumental. Furthermore, optimal visualisation of the screwdriving task also contributes to successful operator guidance of the complete system.

As well as standardised manual work stations, DEPRAG also supplies automated, extremely flexible assembly cells of their DCAM product family (DEPRAG COMPACT ASSEMBLY MODULE). Equipped with one of the modern DEPRAG screwdriving function modules, and appointed with high quality industrial spindle screwdrivers and combined with a screw feeder, you can depend on the DCAM to complete any screwdriving task. “The modular assembly cell is particularly suitable for fluctuating production rates, diverse product ranges and short product life cycles. As a system solution, the DCAM combines efficiency with the best possible processing reliability. The modular, flexible platform concept, in combination with the freely programmable X-Y axes, justifies the implementation of this assembly cell for the most varied of assembly tasks”, says Hierold.

DEPRAG has another notable screwdriving system in their program, specially designed for bodywork construction screw joints (Body in White): the adaptive DEPRAG Fastening System. The selection of the correct fastening technology for lightweight construction is of utmost importance and consequently flow hole screw assemblies are the established technology for bodywork construction in the automobile industry. The adaptive assembly unit ADAPTIVE DFS combines EC-servo screwdriving technology with EC-servo feed technology. This enables automatic piercing detection throughout the flow hole assembly, independent from screw and component tolerances. The processing parameters are automatically adjusted and the procedure is continually optimised. A robot can also easily be connected to the screwdriving system.

Finally, all customer specifications for E-mobility are fully satisfied by DEPRAG standard components: processing reliability, flexibility, ESD-capability, technical cleanliness, ergonomics and economic efficiency. The machine builder is presenting their product developments from 19th to 22nd June at the AUTOMATICA in Munich: hall A6, exhibition stand 312.

 

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