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Cisco Systems (CSCO - Analyst Report) has signed an agreement with Canada’s University of Saskatchewan to set up a Research Chair in Mining Solutions. The Research Chair will primarily support, promote and lead R&D and technical innovation at the university through real time mining-based projects in Canada.

Cisco will invest $2.0 million over a decade for the Research Chair. The focus of the Chair will be to promote the importance of research and academic programs for the mining industry by finding solutions to its daily challenges.

The University of Saskatchewan has a legacy of undertaking new research studies. With a prosperous mining industry in the area, Saskatchewan itself is leading the research in the segment.

Cisco will provide the required expertise in advanced technologies and strategies that is intended to drive innovation in the sector. In return it will build valuable domain expertise that would help its growth.

The university’s rich legacy in research coupled with Cisco’s expertise in networking and communications technology will lead to enhanced knowledge, stronger relationships with industry and government partners and improve efficiency in the mining sector in Canada.

According to research by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), the Canadian mining sector may attract $140.0 billion worth of new investments and may create an additional 100,000 jobs by 2020. Stalwarts such as General Electric Co. (GE - Analyst Report) are planning to open another mining unit in Canada.                  

Cisco’s revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 increased 5.5% year over year to $11.69 billion and was better than management’s expectations (up 2-4%). Products (78.3% of total revenue) were up 3.9% year over year to $9.30 billion. Services (21.7% of total revenue) jumped 11.9% year over year to $2.58 billion.

Cisco shares carry a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a Hold rating in the near term (1-3 months). General Electric carries a Zacks #4 Rank, which translates to a Sell rating.

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