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PDL consulting over future of Napier plant

TUESDAY, 2 MAY 2006 (Available for immediate use)

PDL Electronics Ltd, a subsidiary of Schneider Toshiba Inverter (STI), a French-based joint-venture, is consulting with its employees over the future of the company's Napier-based manufacturing plant.

The existing PDL Electronics variable-speed drives are reaching the end of their viable product life and are due to be phased out by the end of the year. STI recently launched the ATV71/61 product ranges, which has superior features and fully substitutes the variable speed drives being made by PDL Electronics. The company also continues to face higher logistical costs to ship their product to its main global markets in North America, Asia, and Europe.

STI is a worldwide leader in AC variable speed drives and soft starters with a number of subsidiaries around the world. Its PDL Electronics plant in Napier designs, manufactures and markets variable-speed drives. PDL Electronics currently has 92 employees.

In a statement today, President of PDL Electronics Ltd Jacky Pillais said "the company will make a decision this month on the future of the Napier operation following consultation with the employees and their union. We realise this will be very unsettling for our staff, and we want to move as quickly as possible so they know where they stand. We are committed to assisting our employees as much as possible throughout this process "

This process does not affect the PDL brand electrical switchgear and wiring accessories produced at the PDL plant in Christchurch.

Mr Pillais said worldwide service and application support will continue to be provided from Napier and the Schneider network, whatever the outcome of the consultation process.

ENDS

Background:

About PDL Electronics:
- PDL Electronics Ltd is a subsidiary of Schneider Toshiba Inverter (STI)
- Schneider Electric acquired PDL Electronics in 2001 when it bought the PDL Group. Schneider Electric transferred ownership to STI in 2004
- PDL Electronics has operated a manufacturing plant in Napier since 1973
- PDL Electronics employs 92 people in Napier
- Around 18 of those staff are involved in research and development
- PDL Electronics has specialised in making AC variable-speed motor drives for industrial and commercial use
- PDL Electronics has customers in New Zealand, Australia, North and South America, Europe and Asia

About Schneider Toshiba Inverter [STI]:
- Schneider Toshiba Inverter is a joint venture between Schneider Electric and Toshiba, which have been working together since 1988
- STI is the worldwide leader in AC variable speed drives and soft starters and is at the forefront of the technology.
- STI has has a worldwide market share of 16% (in the variable speed drive market)
- STI has operations in USA, France, Austria, Japan, China and New Zealand

About Schneider Electric New Zealand:
- A market leader in automation and electricity management.
- Our lineup, comprises global brands (Merlin Gerin, Square D and Telemecanique), market-leading local brands (PDL)
- Schneider Electric employs 320 people in New Zealand
- Find out more about Schneider Electric in New Zealand at www.schneider-electric.co.nz

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