KONICA MINOLTA SELLS OUT TO SONY
KONICA MINOLTA SELLS OUT TO SONY
2006-01-26 at 10:18:00 am #13859
Konica Minolta sells out to Sony
( OUTSOURCING TO CHANGE OUR INDUSTRY AND OUR COUNTRY)
Konica Minolta has announced it is pulling out of the photography business and has sold its digital SLR business to Sony.
Facing mounting losses, Konica Minolta has decided to shut down its photographic businesses, including digital and 35mm cameras, colour films and papers, and minilabs.
The process will be staggered over the next 18 months, with complete withdrawal slated for 30 September 2007.
The shock announcement was made in Tokyo last Thursday (19 January), following the company’s revelation that its camera business, which includes 35mm, digital SLR and digital compact cameras, made an operating loss of more than £35 million in the last financial year. The company’s statement explained: ‘In today’s era of digital cameras, where image sensor technologies are indispensable, it became difficult to provide timely, competitive products even with our top optical, mechanical and electronics technologies.’
The photo business alone, which includes the company’s inkjet paper, film and minilab manufacturing outfits, made a loss of nearly £7 million.
‘The traditional silver-halide photographic market is shrinking astonishingly because of the surge of the worldwide digitisation,’ says the statement.
‘In such a changing world, profits for camera and photo businesses worsened in recent years, and it became necessary to drastically reform business structure for the further growth of Konica Minolta.’
Konica Minolta will now wind down the two businesses. On 31 March, the company’s digital SLR assets will be transferred to Sony, who will take over the production of the Dynax lens mount system of cameras and lenses.
Customer service operations will be transferred to Sony on 01 April.
Sony has been working with Konica Minolta since July last year when the two companies announced an agreement to jointly produce digital SLRs.
Sony’s digital imaging product manager, Hiroyuki Matsush*ta, would not comment whether the possibility of a buy-out was tabled at this time, and continued to be guarded about Sony’s plans for Konica Minolta’s digital SLR camera business.
He told BJP that he could not reveal whether Sony will retain Konica Minolta’s brand name on the cameras nor whether it would honour the outstanding partnerships or licensing deals that Konica Minolta holds. He did say, however, that Sony would be making some key product announcements in the summer.
‘Sony had all of the technology to create compact cameras but had no licenses or assets for SLR cameras,’ he explained. ‘We respected the technology that Konica Minolta had, especially its anti-shake technology. Konica Minolta is the starting point for us to build up our presence in this market.’
Konica Minolta will also stop production of minilabs on 31 March, and the following day the service and maintenance contracts will be consigned to Noritsu Koki, which markets its own brand of minilabs in 180 countries.
Konica Minolta adds that the service and maintenance contracts currently provided by its sales companies will be considered on a region by region basis.
Konica Minolta also announced that the production of colour film and paper will end by 31 March 2007. The company explained: ‘We will, as much as possible, avoid causing any inconvenience in providing products to our worldwide customers in the course of withdrawal. For colour film and colour paper, while considering our customer needs, we will reduce product line-up on a step-by-step basis and cease our film and colour paper production by the end of fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.’
Konica Minolta concluded that it will now focus on the remaining aspects of its business, including, ‘the core business technologies field,the strategic optics and display devices field, and the medical imaging and sensing fields’.
It announced that 3700 redundancies are planned by 30 September 2007 as a result of the closure of the camera and photo businesses.
Konica Minolta: Timetable for change
January 2003: Konica and Minolta announce merger plans
October 2003: Merger completed
March 2005: Joint company announces combined annual operating losses of more than £40 million for its camera and photo businesses
July 2005: Enters partnership with Sony to develop DSLRs
19 January 2006: Announces sale of DSLR business to Sony and says will pull out of the consumer photographic business
31 March 2006: Official date for withdrawal from the camera market. Sony will receive assets for the development, design and production of DSLRs. Will also cease production of minilabs
01 April 2006: Sony will take over customer service operations for Dynax-mount cameras and lenses. Noritsu will begin providing servicing and maintenance for minilabs
31 March 2007: To cease manufacturing colour film and papers following a gradual ‘step-by-step’ wind-down
30 September 2007: Will ‘withdraw from all photo sales activities’ and complete reorganisation, which will include 3700 job losses.
Konica Minolta to cut 140 jobs in Mahwah
Konica Minolta’s recent decision to exit the camera and color film businesses will result in the elimination of 140 to 150 jobs in Mahwah, a company official said Friday.
About 80 more staffers will be laid off from a film processing plant in Mount Laurel, the company told its employees.
A complete shutdown of Mahwah-based Konica Minolta Photo Imaging USA is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the first job cuts to take place around March.
Many of the employees in Bergen County were working in Konica’s sales operation before the company merged with Minolta in 2003. Some have been working in Mahwah for decades, the company official said.
The Mahwah site has been Konica Minolta’s base for North American sales and marketing of cameras, film, photographic paper and inkjet printers. It also sells mini photo labs used in one-hour photo processing shops.
Nationwide, about 500 Konica Minolta jobs will be eliminated, an official said. The parent company, Konica Minolta Holdings, of Tokyo, said Thursday that it would cut 3,700 of 33,000 jobs worldwide.
The restructuring, which also includes some changes in top management, was spurred by heavy losses amid increased competition and a rapid shift to digital cameras. The company said in November it expected to lose more than $400 million in the current fiscal year.
Employees at Konica Minolta’s photo copier division in Ramsey will not be affected by the downsizing, a company official said.
The plant in Mount Laurel that will be closed does overnight processing of film dropped off at supermarkets.
Workers in Mahwah were notified on Thursday of the planned shutdown and were told that they would be offered severance pay and outplacement services, but the company did not provide specifics to The Record.
Konica Minolta is not the only company trimming jobs as a result of customer shifts to digital photography.
Fujicolor said in November it will close its Hackensack film-processing plant and lay off all 169 employees there. And Kodak closed a film-processing plant in Fair Lawn last year, one of nine plant closings nationwide, eliminating 220 Bergen County jobs.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. Announces Construction of Third Simitri(R) Polymerized Toner Plant
Addition of Third Plant Strengthens Konica Minolta‘s Position as the World’s
Leading Producer of Polymerized Toner
RAMSEY, N.J., Sept. 05 — In response to the increased demand
for Simitri(R) Polymerized Toner, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.,
Inc.’s (KMBS) parent company Konica Minolta Business Technologies, Inc.
(Konica Minolta) has announced the construction of a third polymerized toner
production plant. Konica Minolta, the world’s leading producer of polymerized
toner, is making a new investment in its production subsidiary, Konica Minolta
Supplies Manufacturing Co., Ltd., for the toner plant’s construction. The
plant will be built in Tatsunomachi, Kamiina-gun, Nagano, Japan. Construction
of the third plant will start in September 2005, with completion scheduled for
September 2006. The new plant’s mass production of toner will commence in
With the addition of the new plant, Konica Minolta‘s position as an
industry-leading toner manufacturer will be further strengthened. The new
plant will have an annual production capacity of about 7,000 tons, increasing
Konica Minolta‘s annual production of polymerized toner from 8,000 tons
(combined production capacities of the first and second plants, as of November
2005) to about 15,000 tons. The new third plant will be a production base for
Simitri Color Polymerized Toner to meet the demands of the fast-growing color
printing market, as well as for black Simitri Polymerized Toner.
“The construction of the third Simitri Polymerized Toner plant is another
step in our strategy to become #1 in color, #1 in customer satisfaction, and
the overall value leader in the industry. The new plant will allow us to
continue to meet the market demand and enable Konica Minolta to become the
total cost of ownership leader in the marketplace, bringing great value to our
end customers and strategic partners,” said Shoei Yamana, executive director
and general manager, MFP sales and marketing worldwide, Konica Minolta
Business Technologies, Inc.
“Konica Minolta‘s award-winning bizhub and bizhub PRO product lines
utilize Simitri Polymerized Toner, providing us with an advantage over
competitive products that use conventional pulverized toner. With our
continuing emphasis on the development of new color bizhub and bizhub PRO
products, such as the bizhub C450 and the bizhub PRO C500, and the need to
meet the demands of the growing color printer/MFP market, a further increase
in the production of polymerized toner is required. Accordingly, Konica
Minolta has resolved to open a third plant to meet this urgent need to expand
production capacity,” said Jun Haraguchi, president and CEO, Konica Minolta
Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.
A Next-Generation Technology
Konica Minolta‘s Simitri Polymerized Toner is a high-end product
manufactured using Konica Minolta‘s proprietary method, and incorporates four
of Konica Minolta‘s state-of-the-art core technologies — imaging, optical and
material technologies, as well as nano-fabrication.
Konica Minolta‘s Simitri Polymerized Toner is characterized by fine,
uniformly sized particles produced using a different method than conventional
pulverized toner. Konica Minolta‘s black Simitri Polymerized Toner is
suitable for its monochrome and color MFPs due to its image density, which has
a higher level of resin particles. Compared to conventional toner, Simitri
Polymerized Toner provides a drastic improvement in image quality (high
resolution, and excellent gradation and sharpness), a higher toner yield, and
a cost reduction at the production level.
Konica Minolta employs a unique method to produce Simitri Polymerized
Toner. Resin particles of 100 nanometers (1/10,000 of a millimeter) are
synthesized through the emulsion polymerization method, and then the particles
are chemically, finely, and slowly coagulated and fused with a coloring agent.
Characteristically, this method allows for the production of small toner
particles — three to seven microns — of uniform size and shape, unlike the
suspension polymerization and rapid coagulation polymerization methods used by
the competition. The particles formed by Konica Minolta‘s polymerization
method excel in colorant and wax dispersion, and can produce high quality
images comparable to offset-printed images.
An Environmentally Friendly Toner
In addition, Simitri Polymerized Toner, with its low fusing temperature,
is very environmentally friendly, delivering high energy-saving and emission-
reducing effects. During the Simitri Polymerized Toner production process,
the emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide is reduced by
approximately 40% compared to the production of conventional pulverized toner.
The History of Konica Minolta‘s Production of Simitri Polymerized Toner
In December 2000, Konica Minolta started production of “polymerized
toner,” a new product incorporating the company’s state-of-the-art
technologies, at its first plant in Kofu City.
To meet increasing demand, Konica Minolta started construction of a second
plant, also in Kofu City, in April 2002. The second plant was completed in
May 2003. An additional investment has been made in the second plant to
enhance its production capacity. The new production system for the second
plant will be ready for operation in November 2005.
New Third Plant (Tentative Name: Tatsuno Plant)
About Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc., offers a broad range of
multifunctional digital imaging solutions inspired by its bizhub(TM) brand of
powerful solutions that serve as the central resource for document scanning,
in-house printing, copying, faxing and electronic archiving and distribution.
From high-quality color and monochrome bizhub systems for workgroups and small
offices, to advanced high-volume bizhub PRO(TM) production printing systems
for large corporations and print-for-pay services, Konica Minolta is leading
the industry toward integrated, networked hardware/software solutions that are
more simple, reliable, and cost-effective. Complementing its bizhub
solutions, Konica Minolta also offers desktop laser printers, microform
digital imaging systems, wide-format printers and scanning systems for