JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 12 : August 14, 2000


  • Your Digital Future
  • Nanotechnology - manufacturing atom-by-atom
  • Morley on Chaos
  • Drucker on the new economy
  • The Urge to Merge: 2000
  • eFeedback - Invensys controls Baan
  • eFeedback - ICS Takeover Update

Your Digital Future

More than ever in the new century, technology has a pervasive influence on our lives, a tool that is being harnessed and to serve us in more and new ways. Take a look at this discussion about what lies on the horizon, in 5 segments: E-Business, Internet Technologies, Infrastructure, Computing and Frontiers. Each segment looks three to five years ahead, with "Frontiers" looking a bit further out.

Click Look at the ZD-NET Digital Future Review

Nanotech promises BIG changes by getting small

What if you could take tiny specks of matter and make them into intelligent machines? The idea, dubbed nanotechnology, has fascinated scientists for decades. Now, efforts to make the idea real are accelerating. The primary idea in nanotechnology is that atoms can be treated discretely to build structures, which, in terms of implications for technology, could mean that matter could be manipulated into tiny machines capable of self-replication. Nanotechnology also has broad medical implications. If atoms can be manipulated one by one, then it might be possible to edit DNA, for example, to prevent disease and aging.

Click Read the PC Magazine Nanotech article

Carbon nanotubes are tiny tubes about 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, consist of rolled up sheets of carbon hexagons. Discovered in 1991, they have the potential for use as minuscule wires or in ultra small electronic devices. To build those devices, scientists must be able to manipulate the nanotubes in a controlled way. IBM researchers using an atomic force microscope (AFM), an instrument whose tip can apply accurately measured forces to atoms and molecules, have recently devised a means of changing a nanotube's position, shape and orientation, as well as cutting it. The IBM Research site has an excellent overview, with a discussion on how it works and future applications:

Click Go to the IBM Research Site for carbon nanotubes

Engines of Creation - The coming era of Nanotechnology. By: K. Eric Drexler. This book (1986) started the revolution and Drexler is now considered to be the father of Nanotechnology. The book is easy to read - read it!

Click Look at Drexler's Engines of Creation

Morley on Chaos

Dick Morley You know that Chaos Conference I've been attending at Santa Fe, NM every year? Well - it's coming live, on the web, at a screen near you! On 30 August from 3-4:30 p.m. (Eastern time) the guru himself, live and in person, will present the ISA Training Institute's next Web seminar, "Chaos in Manufacturing." In this 90-minute seminar, Dick Morley explains how to work with the world the way it is and not the way we want it to be. This is your chance to have a "virtual meeting" with Morley, who will challenge your lateral-thinking ability as he educates and entertains in his own, inimitable style. Learn how the science of Chaos can optimize your company, career, and culture. You won't want to miss this provocative discussion.

Click Go to the ISA site to review and register

Drucker on the new economy

At the age of 90-something, Peter Drucker is on the cover of Business 2.0 magazine. In an exclusive interview, the renowned business-management legend explains whatís wrong - and right - with the New Economy. Well worth reading!

Click Go to the Business 2.0 website to read Druckers discussion

Urge to Merge: 2000

Lack of growth in industrial automation is forcing publicly held companies into a steady stream of mergers and acquisitions to maintain or improve stock-market valuations. My previous article (Sept 99) included the "famous-list" of industrial-automation majors, ranked by size. For some reason, no one else publishes this kind of information - Iím not sure why.

This is the latest update of the article, which includes new tidbits on various aspects of the merger-fever that is now rampant. I am predicting that the Top-10 will become the Top-5 within the next year. If I'm wrong, I won't be far off...

The original version of this article was published in Controls Intelligence & Plant Systems Report, August 2000. You can have a .pdf file copy too on the JimPinto.com website.

Click Look at Urge to Merge:2000

eFeedback : Invensys control of Baan

Several people asked: How will Invensys handle the shareholders who did NOT tender their (about 25%) shares in Baan? According to Peter Reilly, Deutsche Bank, the plan is to transfer all Baan assets and liabilities to Invensys, leaving just a shell behind and put cash equivalent to $2.85 per share into the shell. They will then call a shareholders' meeting and propose a motion to put the shell into voluntary liquidation. As Invensys has >75% of the votes, this will be a formality to pay all Baan shareholders $2.85 per share, which is what they would have got had they tendered shares to Invensys in the first place.

You can see the extracts from previous eNews, combined to provide the complete analysis at :

Click See the whole Invensys+Baan story

eFeedback : ICS(UK) low-ball takeover

An ex-employee of ICS asked:
    "ICS owns Triplex, which has one of the best safety systems and control products currently available on the market. I can understand that the company has suffered at the hands of poor management. However I cannot understand why they have not been acquired by a larger company, such as Emerson or Rosemount which I'm sure could market the Triplex technology and also integrate it into existing products.

    In your opinion why have they been left to be taken over by a company like Tritrax (Alchemy) who have bid a vastly reduced value (1p a share). This does not make any sense to me. I believe that if ICS is bought by Tritrax then a whole lot of larger companies will have missed a gift and a golden opportunity to make money from a good product and a large installed base which will require servicing for many years to come."

Pinto response:
    Yes, ICS has many good people and good products. I understand that ALL the major industrial automation companies had been approached (in the past year or so) about buying ICS. Most were really "fishing" and "viewing the merchandise" so to speak - but no one stepped in to buy it. Why not? Because the industrial automation market (as a whole) is doing badly (no growth, poor profit) and no one wants to work with a turnaround that will need a lot of attention.

    Why Alchemy (Tritax)? The banks control ICS because it is very deeply in debt. Alchemy are the only ones who seem to be willing to do a "turnaround" - and have somehow won the confidence of the banks. The low bid takes into account that ICS will still need to repay the banks and Alchemy will assume the debts.

    Yes, ICS has some value (beyond their debt and the 1p per share) - and may still be bought by someone else. My own opinion is that some of the good managers within ICS should stage a management buyout. The banks will be delighted. If you know anyone who is gutsy enough to get some good ICS employees together to attempt an employee-owned buyout, ask them to get in touch with me. If they don't DO anything, then they will simply be "fodder" for Alchemy's turnaround tactics - these vultures always think they are 'smart', when in reality they are simply ruthless.

Dave Stevenson, an ICS shareholder reports (14 August '00:
    "Well the offer has been extended to 17th August. Alchemy now has 43% plus the 3.45% which doesn't count towards the total for 'majority' purposes. They may sweep-up the remaining 8% next week to secure overall control. But still, 13m shares is a lot if none of the big boys are playing ball. 90% looks a universe away."

Click Read the whole ICS Downhill Debacle story

eSpeak to me!

If smell something fishy in your pond, please e-let me know and I'll check it out. Please send your tips and alerts, your news, views and stews. I'd like to e-hear from you.

If you have comments or suggestions for Growth & Success News, please contact me directly at : Click Jim@JimPinto.com

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