With the United States committing boldly to a strategy of spending its way out of crisis, it appears that at least one manufacturing company will adopt the same approach.
Mere weeks after assailing investors with monumental losses and warnings about a potential breach of debt covenants, equipment maker Terex
Terex's latest move is surprising, not only because of its company-specific challenges -- including about $1.4 billion in debt and a projected 30%-35% reduction in sales for 2009 -- but also given the massive headwinds and substantial uncertainty facing both the makers of equipment and their client industries.
In a poignant sign of the times, laid-off Caterpillar
In addition to the challenges facing Terex, I'm not convinced the outlook for Fantuzzi's container-focused business is much better. For example, container traffic on North America's rail lines -- carried by the likes of CSX
I can offer only a handful of positive anecdotes from this perplexing deal. For one, the present 175-million-euro offer represents an 18.6% discount to the $215 million euro purchase price announced last summer. Thanks to exchange-rate fluctuations, the savings in U.S. dollars is even greater.
Fantuzzi is a major global player in container port equipment, and the acquisition should indeed boost Terex's global footprint in diverse equipment niches once recovery begins to take hold. With operations in China, Fantuzzi might just bring exposure in the right places. On the whole, though, given the questionable health of both the acquirer and the acquiree, Terex's latest move leaves this Fool skeptically cautious.