Fri, May 27, 2011 - Page 10 News List

POST-QUAKE JAPAN: Ricoh to cut 10,000 jobs over three years

FIRST WAVE:President Shiro Kondo said no area would be exempt from streamlining, but he declined to provide details about the countries or units that would be involved

AFP, TOKYO

Japanese office equipment and digital camera maker Ricoh said yesterday it plans to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide over three years to turn around sagging business operations.

Ricoh was hit hard by the 2008 to 2009 global financial crisis and the strong yen and has struggled to recover in the face of stiff competition.

The cuts from a global workforce of over 100,000, Ricoh’s first major wave of job losses, will be made both at home and abroad by March 2014.

Ricoh employs 40,000 people in Japan and 68,900 overseas.

Company president Shiro Kondo said no area of the company would be exempt from streamlining.

“For example, you might have 10 people working together to develop software that two people could develop. You need to question whether having more people is really speeding things up,” Kondo told a news conference, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

He declined to disclose the details of the job cuts, such as which countries and business segments would be affected.

However, the company said it would shift 15,000 workers to areas with more growth potential, such as information technology services for corporate clients.

The firm also plans to revamp or withdraw from operations where it is making losses.

Ricoh said its market was still growing in emerging nations, but added that “purchases of printing devices and paper-printing volume are expected to decline in developed countries.”

It attributed the rise of a “paperless trend” to the emergence of smartphones and tablet computers.

Ricoh has seen its group net profit drop sharply in recent years — from more than ¥100 billion (US$1.2 billion) in the year to March 2008 to ¥6.5 billion a year later.

Net profit for the last business year stood at ¥19.6 billion, down 29.5 percent from the previous year.

Sales came to ¥1.94 trillion, missing a target of ¥2.3 trillion.

Like many Japanese manufacturers, Ricoh continues to face challenges associated with the March 11 earthquake that struck northeastern Japan.

Ricoh estimated quake-related damage to earnings for the just-ended fiscal year at about ¥9.4 billion.

Ricoh said in its mid-term business plan announced yesterday that it aims to achieve group sales of ¥2.4 trillion in fiscal 2013, which ends in March 2014, by expanding market share in emerging countries.

It also aims at an operating profit of ¥210 billion, more than three times higher than ¥60.1 billion in the last year.

The company plans to maintain capital spending at the current level, which would be ¥200 billion yen over the three years.

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