Kyocera completes Mita rehabilitation with acquisition

Kyocera has managed to crack open the mopier (printer and photocopying) market with the acquisition of embattled photocopy specialist Mita Industrial.

The alliance began 12 months ago when under Japanese law, Mita, which went "belly up" according to Kyocera's Australian and New Zealand managing director David Finn, chose Kyocera as its "rehabilitation sponsor".

Through this arrangement Kyocera has since 1998 been reorganising and managing Mita under the jurisdiction of the Osaka District Court, with the eventual intention of incorporating Mita into the Kyocera ranks.

This goal was formalised yesterday with an injection of 12 billion yen in capital, the appointment of several Kyocera directors to the Kyocera Mita corporation and court approval.

"This was a brilliant deal," enthused Finn, who was excited about more than just the price.

With Mita's worldwide sales of $1.2 billion and its focus on analog and digital copiers, as well as computer-connectable peripherals such as network laser printers and wide-format imaging solutions, Kyocera will now be able to operate in more diverse markets, across a wider spectrum of products.

The new company will initially structure itself around two separate entities: Kyocera Mita, which will focus on digital copiers, fax and multifunctional products; and Kyocera Electronics Australia, which will concentrate on the laser printer, optical and mobile telecommunications markets.

Yet according to Finn this will only be the case in the early stages of the merger, as the strategy to take advantage of each company's strength unfolds.

"This whole merger reinforces the notion that the convergence between printers and photocopiers will become a reality," said Finn. "Maybe in 12 months there will be true convergence when the R&D and product lines are rationalised."

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