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Unaxis expands service activities of Coating Services (Balzers) business unit through acquisition of coating operations of America’s Star Cutter Company

Pfäffikon SZ, March 20, 2006 − Within the framework of a cooperation agreement, Balzers will take over the PVD coating operations of Gold Star Coatings, a subsidiary of the industrial tooling group Star Cutter Company. Through the acquisition of Gold Star Coatings, America’s number three company in the coating industry, Balzers is expanding further its already leading position in North America. The transaction will be concluded on April 30, 2006. Going forward, Balzers will assume the function of coating partner for the tool re-sharpening service centers operated by Star and SU, sold through Star SU in the US, Canada, and Mexico. In addition, Balzers will also open an in-house coating center in the gear tool manufacturing operation of Star Cutter Company in East Tawas, Michigan.

The existing coating center of Gold Star Coatings in Richmond, Indiana, will be expanded to become a significant regional site for Balzers. The activities of Gold Star’s West Branch, Michigan, facility will be integrated into three existing Balzers coating centers in the state of Michigan. Thus, in the future Balzers will have a network of 14 sites in the US and Canada for contract coating, as well as three in-house coating centers located on customer premises. Thomas Limberger, CEO of Unaxis, stated: "This transaction not only strengthens our presence in the North American market, it is also consistent with Balzers’ strategy as a full-service provider to expand even further its in-house coating operations at the plants of major customers.“

Through its collaboration with Balzers, Star Cutter Company will benefit from having an efficient coating facility as well as access to the most modern coatings that are tailored to its specific requirements. The in-house center will simplify the work processes and reduce logistics costs. Moreover, Star Cutter Company’s customers will also benefit from shorter delivery times, optimal quality, and value-added services.

For further information, please contact:

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Head of Group Communications

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