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How Fanuc quietly took over the world

Fanuc's distinctive yellow robots have been making their way onto the production floor for VW's Golf compact car.

TOKYO -- Fanuc may not be a household name, but the Japanese industrial robot maker likes it that way. It is no exaggeration, however, to say that without its products, global assembly lines, including those of iconic brands such as Apple, would come to a shuddering halt.

    Fanuc controls the lion's share of the world market for production machinery and boasts an almost unheard of 40% operating profit margin. Recently, the company caused a stir in the stock market by announcing it will funnel up to 80% of its profits to shareholders through higher dividends and share buybacks. 

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