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Tyler Refrigeration Corp., a major manufacturer of commercial refrigeration units and coolers, has informed officials in Waxahachie, Texas, that the company will close its plant there next year, a move that threatens to eliminate 500 jobs. Most of the plant's work is expected to be transferred to Mexico. The Waxahachie factory is one of seven US plants of Tyler Refrigeration, which is based in Niles, Mich. The company is a subsidiary of Carrier Corp.

Siemens AG, Germany's largest engineering company, will buy a 16 percent stake in VA Technologie AG, its unprofitable Austrian competitor valued by Siemens at $1.09 billion, reported Bloomberg.com. The transaction bolsters Siemens' position relative to Swiss provider ABB, a chief competitor in the electrical power grids market.

Under pressure from struggling US airlines to cut costs, aerospace manufacturer Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., based in Windsor Locks, Conn., announced plans late last week to lay off 600 employees nationwide. The company, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., has "significant excess manufacturing capacity," said a company spokeswoman.

Looking to create Australia's leading diversified property group, Stockland Trust has offered to buy General Property Trust for $5.7 billion in stock, Bloomberg.com reported. The offer, which exceeds that of the rival Lend Lease Corp., seeks to combine the country's second biggest (Stockland) and third biggest (GPT) property trusts. According to Bloomberg, property trusts own an estimated 70 percent of all property in Australia.

British telecommunications company BT Group PLC took a major step toward becoming a leading global provider of IT and networking services by buying Infonet Services of El Segundo, Calif., for $965 million. Infonet maintains a network that spans more than 180 countries and serves more than 2,500 multinational corporations, according to Hoover's Online. The move represents a surprise return to the US market for BT, which lost money in a joint venture with AT&T Corp. that was ended in 2001.

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