Point of Beginning

Topcon acquires KEE Technologies

October 2, 2006
Topcon Positioning Systems Inc. (TPS) today announced the acquisition of leading precision agricultural company, KEE Technologies Pty Ltd. KEE Technologies, an Australian-based company with more than 25 years experience in agricultural electronics and applications, focuses on the precision agriculture market.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA AND LIVERMORE, CA. - Topcon Positioning Systems Inc. (TPS) today announced the acquisition of leading precision agricultural company, KEE Technologies Pty Ltd.

KEE Technologies, an Australian-based company with more than 25 years experience in agricultural electronics and applications, focuses on the precision agriculture market.

Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of positioning equipment, offers the world's leading selection of innovating precision GPS, GIS, laser, optical surveying, and machine control, products, software, and applications.

Topcon has been providing products, software, hardware and applications for the agriculture market for more than 10 years. TPS products are used worldwide in the areas of data acquisition and management, machine control, precision land leveling, mapping, and water use management.

Ray O'Connor, president and CEO of TPS, said, "The joining of these two world-leading technology companies - TPS, with its precise positioning technology and products, and KEE's fully integrated precision agricultural technology and instruments - will provide unmatched solutions for the global agricultural market.

"KEE's technology in agriculture," he said, meshed with TPS positioning technology and "our company's history in this important market segment, will allow the development of the most advanced and complete product portfolio for this emerging precision Ag and prescription farming techniques."

O'Connor said this "strategic move improves the focus for Topcon's agricultural segment and is another step in our plan to grow our business" around the world. "Topcon moved into the construction market approximately 10 years ago with less than 1 percent of the market; today we have approximately 40 percent share.

"Combining Topcon and KEE and leveraging Topcon-Sauer Danfoss (TSD), our joint venture company, which provides approximately 70 percent of the worldwide steering hydraulics for tractors, should allow us to easily achieve our minimum target of 40 percent market share," he said.

O'Connor said, "Couple all the obvious fits from a technology point of view and combine this with the great employees, distributors and culture that KEE has, we see nothing but expansion opportunities for all involved. The companies, people and distributors are really a 'glove fit'."

Les Mann, CEO of KEE, said the corporate marriage is a "win-win-win situation for both companies, individual dealer networks, and customers around the world. Precise positioning technology is changing the global face of agriculture." He said, "It's not enough to just plant and harvest crops. It is vitally important to increase productivity at every step of the operation, while always being conscious of environmental concerns."

The global footprints of the two companies are "extremely compatible," Mann said. Both companies have staff and dealers throughout the world, including North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.

Tony Hirayama, TPS executive vice president, said the acquisition of KEE would be a boon for the global agriculture community. "Utilizing the research and development resources of both companies will accelerate the next generation of product development to provide increased environmental management, real time remote monitoring, and control of equipment. This acquisition matches the overall business strategy of Topcon Corporation's positioning division and is guaranteed to spread our presence in the global agriculture market."

He said, "With the completion of the acquisition, the KEE Technologies facility in South Australia will become Topcon's Technology Center for development of the next generation of agricultural technology and solutions.

KEE currently provides agricultural users a fully integrated solution with its single console ZYNX system, which allows farming equipment - seeders, sprayers, spreaders, and harvesters - to be monitored and controlled in real time and provides exemplary environmental risk management.

KEE's Auto Section Control (ASC) and Variable Rate Control (VRC) technology reduces operator costs, improves yields, increases overall productivity, and ensures greater sustainable environmental management.

KEE products monitor and regulate precision spraying of crops, on-site machine guidance, and its software (ZYNX) controls seeding, spraying, and spreading applications. "With ZYNX," Mann said, "users tackle the high-end of precision farming with one console that can create, control and log as well as steer and turn on and off specific pieces of equipment."

The KEE management team will remain in place and all current KEE employees, numbering more than 70, will remain with the new company. With the addition of the KEE staff members, TPS now has almost 700 employees worldwide.

Source: Topcon Positioning Systems Inc.