In response to the shift towards paperless workplaces, evidenced by a 26% decline* in MFP and office printer shipments sice pre-Covid times; Fujifilm and Konica Minolta propose to merge certain functions in order to save money. Konica Minolta, Inc. and Fujifilm Business Innovation Corp. have announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding to begin a feasibility study for a strategic alliance in the multifunction printer (MFP), office printer and production printer segments.

 * Source: Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association

Konica Toshimitsu TaikoKonica Minolta's Toshimitsu Taiko  Fujifilm Naoki HamaFujifilm's Naoki Hama

In a joint statement, the two Japanese imaging giants said:

"The rapidly evolving market landscape for MFPs and printers requires proactive measures. Konica Minolta and Fujifilm Business Innovation are actively considering a business alliance to strengthen their business foundation including the development of a robust supply system for their products. The companies are also seeking to expand other business alliances and continue discussions. The main details of these promising discussions are as follows:

(1) Procurement business alliance

  • Exploring the establishment of a joint venture to coordinate the procurement of raw materials and parts.
  • Tentative timetable for establishment of a joint ventureSecond quarter of FY2024
  • Shareholding RatioMajority ownership by Fukifilm Business Innovation Corp.

(2) Toner development and production business alliance

(3) Other business alliances:

  • Discussion and agreement on other strategic collaborations related to the subject business will be addressed separately.

Toshimitsu Taiko, President and CEO, Konica Minolta, Inc. said: Sharing a common understating of the challenges facing the business, the two leading companies will be able to mutually maximize strengths through this alliance. I am looking forward to working together to improve investment efficiency and cost-competitiveness, strengthen capabilities for stable supply, environmental initiatives, and business continuity plans (BCP), and pursue the potential for enhancing business resilience as global manufacturers.

Naoki Hama, President and CEO, Fujifilm Business Innovation Corp. said: The ongoing discussions for this business alliance are of immense importance as we strive to strengthen our competitiveness and expand our global presence to make a significant leap forward. We are confident that this partnership will create a new framework to enhance our supply chain and build a robust business foundation.


Editor's footnote: Nine of the world's top ten office equipment makers are based in Japan, says its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Elsewhere in the printer industry, Ricoh and Toshiba Tec have announced they will launch a joint venture in July to merge their production and development of multifunction printers. The tenth of course is the USA's Xerox, still reeling from the effects of the disolution of its joint venture with Fujifilm, which saw it effectively cut out of the Asia-Pacific/Oceania markets following a turbulent four years under the control of short-seller activist Carl Icahn.

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