Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

AUDIO – For Nordson — “Get ‘em right, or get ‘em out”

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Throughout the current recession, many of the companies’ executives at this week’s Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit have found an opportunity to review, pare back and possibly add on to their existing business mixes.

Such is the case for Edward Campbell, chief executive of Nordson Corp, which has a uniquely diversified set of businesses under its umbrella and is looking at what makes sense for them going forward.

Campbell makes the clear point that if something isn’t working for Nordson long term, the company has a responsibility to really consider whether that is a business they should be in.

Nordson makes a wide range of precision dispensing, testing and inspection, surface preparation and curing products. Its products can be found in everything from appliances to autos to bookbinding to furniture. It operates in three segments: adhesive dispensing systems, advanced technology systems and industrial coating and automotive systems.

AUDIO – Staying the course at CAT — But it’s a rough row to hoe

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Caterpillar Inc Group President Ed Rapp knows that 2009 has been a tough one for his company, but he still thinks they can hit their numbers on revenue and earnings per share.

Speaking at the Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit, Rapp (who, incidentally, has been with Caterpillar for almost 30 years and is still considered something of a “youngster” there!!) said that while there are still many hurdles for the company to avoid in the short term, he thought CAT’s previous guidance was within reach.

AUDIO-Pirate Avoidance 101

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The best way to avoid pirates on the open seas? Outrun them, said Seaspan CEO Gerry Wang, speaking to the Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit on Tuesday.

Somali pirates have wrought havoc in recent years, but Wang, who runs container shipper Seaspan, said his ships were too fast and too tall to attract their attention.

AUDIO-Looking for a bottom? Keep looking…

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The U.S. is more than a year into the current recession, but things are still looking nasty. At least that’s what Bill Zollars, chief executive of trucking company YRC, believes.

The trucking industry has been in pain since late 2006, due in part to the flagging auto and housing industries. It could also be expected that the sector should see a pick-up before the broader economy, but the environment has remained difficult, Zollars said at the annual Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit held in Chicago.

from Ruben Ramirez:

And we’re off…

The Manufacturing and Transportation Summit in Chicago kicks off our 2009 global coverage of Reuters Summits. Over the next 41 weeks we'll bring you exclusive interviews from around the world with corporate executives, government leaders and others who can give us key insights into what's ahead for their industries. First off, to get us ready for a more in-depth look at the manufacturing industry we spent a day last week in Rock Hill, SC home to two of Terex's (TEX.N) manufacturing operations. Rock Hill is located just about 20 minutes south of Charlotte, NC. Terex Hydra Platforms manufactures a product that looks like something out of the movie Transfomers. Check out the story:

Mattresses and pillows, a diversified portfolio

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With financial markets in turmoil and the U.S. economy in recession, we asked top entertainment and sports executives at the Reuters Media Summit for some investment advice.

Our question: “If we gave you $50,000, where would you invest?” One rule: They couldn’t pick their own company. But then we thought $50,000 was too little for well heeled executives, so we switched it to $50 million. But that seemed excessive. After all, we’re talking about personal investments — so we settled on giving them a cool $1 million.

Your Blockbuster guy is really Movie Cupid

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In tough times, perhaps the maxim “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is even more true.

In the eyes of Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes, your local video rental joint is a kind of temple for story-loving consumers anxious to find just the cinematic gem they most desire, so they can “Go Home Happy.” That’s what makes it different than online video rental shop Netflix, right, Jim?

WSJ reporters get, dig change

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We and the rest of the media world that covered News Corp and Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of Dow Jones & Co had no shortage of reporters at The Wall Street Journal telling us how bad life was going to get. Among the complaints was the paper’s increasing focus on politics and non-business news. Wasn’t this “diluting the brand” as they say in mediaspeak?

Not so, according to Robert Thomson, the former Times of London editor who now edits the Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. Business news now is concentrated in the B section of the paper (B for Business, yes, it works.), and Journal reporters are not only with the program, they’re showing a willingness to try things differently.

Zelnick: Welcome to the emergency room

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Strauss Zelnick, chairman of Take Two Interactive, has a bone to pick with the media: He doesn’t like the two words “Financial” and ”Crisis.” At least not when they are used to describe the current state of economic affairs.

“I don’t think we’re in a financial crisis,” Zelnick said at the Reuters Media Summit. “The use of the word crisis — I’m loathe to be critical of the media since I’m every bit a part of the media — but I don’t think the word has been especially helpful. We’re obviously in a recession and these are very very trying times.”

Video – Siriusly passionate

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Sirius XM Radio Chief Executive Mel Karmazin was literally wearing his passion for XM on his sleeves as he showed off his cufflinks to reporters at the Reuters Media Summit on Wednesday in New York.

The head of the satellite radio provider also said that unlike other media companies, Sirius will be able to boost revenues in 2009 but he also expressed concern about the potential of a bankruptcy in the auto industry.

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