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ONCE-DIVIDED CARL ZEISS OPTICAL FIRMS ARE REJOINED IN UNIFIED GERMANY; CARL ZEISS, INC., IN U.S. TO MARKET PRECISION INSTRUMENTS OF NEW COMPANY

ONCE-DIVIDED CARL ZEISS OPTICAL FIRMS ARE REJOINED IN UNIFIED GERMANY; CARL ZEISS, INC., IN U.S. TO MARKET PRECISION INSTRUMENTS OF NEW COMPANY
 THORNWOOD, N.Y., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Precision optics company Carl Zeiss, once the corporate symbol of a Germany divided by the Cold War, now represents that country's economic unification.
 After nearly two years of negotiations between Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, western Germany, and government agencies responsible for reorganizing former East German state-owned companies, a new corporation has been formed to manufacture precision instruments in eastern Germany under the Carl Zeiss name. Final agreements were signed Nov. 7, 1991.
 Carl Zeiss Oberkochen holds a majority 51 percent stake in the new company, Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH, whose medical and industrial instruments, microscopes, planetarium projectors and other opto-electronic products will be marketed throughout the world by the western Zeiss firm. A new state-owned company, Jenoptik GmbH, holds the remaining 49 percent interest in Carl Zeiss Jena.
 Dr. Dieter Blennemann, president of Carl Zeiss, Inc., in the U.S., said the Jena operation is starting with a workforce of 2,800. "Carl Zeiss Oberkochen plans to invest more than $140 million in the next few years to provide the Jena facility with new technologies and production techniques," Dr. Blennemann said. "It is expected that Carl Zeiss Oberkochen will assume full ownership of the new company within several years, when Carl Zeiss Jena becomes self-supporting," he added.
 Jena is the historic home of the 145-year-old Zeiss organization. It was there in 1846 that young Carl Zeiss founded the optical workshop which grew to become the world's most respected precision optics company.
 At the end of World War II, U.S. occupation forces transferred many Zeiss scientists from Jena just before the region was handed over to the Soviets. Management reestablished the company in Oberkochen near Stuttgart, where it flourished. The original Carl Zeiss in Jena, meanwhile, was converted to a state-owned conglomerate by Communist East Germany and sold the bulk of its products in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
 For decades, the two Zeiss organizations competed for world markets and engaged in bitter legal battles for the right to use the Zeiss trade name.
 Ever since the merging of the two German economies in mid-1990, the Jena enterprise has faced the threat of bankruptcy, even though it was one of the strongest firms in former East Germany. The combination of collapsing eastern markets and the requirements for working capital placed the company under severe financial pressures.
 The move to create one Carl Zeiss company in a unified Germany has been spearheaded by Dr. Horst Skoludek, chairman of Carl Zeiss Oberkochen, who spent four years in the U.S. in the late 1960s helping bolster the company's sales organization in its largest export market.
 Upon startup of the new company, Dr. Skoludek said, "It is with a strong sense of history that Carl Zeiss begins anew in Jena, our historic birthplace."
 Dr. Skoludek points out that the Zeiss group of companies have more than 17,000 employees and sales exceeding $1.4 million worldwide. Operating in the U.S. since 1925, sales of Carl Zeiss, Inc., represent some 20 percent of the company's business globally.
 -0- 11/12/91
 /CONTACT: Irving Toplin of Carl Zeiss, 914-681-7670, or Jay M. Moody of Gregory and Clyburne, 203-325-3147, for Carl Zeiss, Inc./ CO: Carl Zeiss, Inc. ST: New York IN: SU: PS-KD -- NY005 -- 3279 11/12/91 08:30 EST
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Date:Nov 12, 1991
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