* May cut more jobs after buyout in overseas joint venture
* Could also cut PC product lines, reorganise factories
* No immediate plan to sell consumer PC business in Europe
(Adds details, background)
By Sachi Izumi and Kentaro Hamada
TOKYO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd (6702.T) may cut product lines, reorganise factories and slash jobs to turn around its overseas PC business after buying out its joint venture with Siemens (SIEGn.DE), a senior executive said on Tuesday.
Tatsuo Tomita, a senior executive vice president at Fujitsu, also said the company has no immediate plans to sell the loss-making consumer PC business of Fujitsu Siemens Computers [NIXG.UL] after the buyout as reported by media. “We don’t believe things should be as they are, and we know we have to do something,” he told Reuters in an interview. “We are reviewing current operations to see why it (Fujitsu Siemens Computers’ PC business) is unprofitable even though it sells more PCs than we do.”
Fujitsu is to buy Siemens AG’s (SIEGn.DE) 50 percent stake in their PC joint venture in April, aiming to better compete with IBM (IBM.N) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N), which dwarf it in computer markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Fujitsu Siemens Computers is Europe’s biggest maker of personal computers and employs about 10,500 people worldwide, mostly in Germany, but the company said in November it would slash around 700 jobs.
Tomita said Fujitsu plans to look closer into Fujitsu Siemens Computers’ operations after April and come up with restructuring plans, which may include dropping low-end products and shuffling manufacturing bases.
It may also cut more jobs if that is seen necessary to trim costs, he said.
“As a matter of fact, it is going to be very tough from here on,” he said.
“The management of the company after making it a wholly owned unit will be one of our main challenges, but it also presents opportunities including the fact that it sells double of what Fujitsu sells.”
Media have reported Fujitsu would sell Fujitsu Siemens Computers’ consumer PC business after making Fujitsu Siemens Computers a wholly owned unit, and a possible buyer included Chinese computer maker Lenovo (0992.HK).
But Tomita said a sale would be a last resort and Fujitsu would only sell the business if it judged that was necessary after restructuring the operations.He also denied Fujitsu had held talks with Lenovo.
“As of today, although it may change after April 1, we believe PCs are important for the Fujitsu group,” he said.
“The Fujitsu brand is still rather unknown outside of Japan ... and we would like our consumer products, PCs and mobile phones, which we intend to sell more of overseas, to serve as the face of the company.”
Fujitsu, together with Fujitsu Siemens Computers, has forecast it will ship 7.6 million PCs in the current year to March, down 14 percent from a year earlier. About 70 percent of the shipments are in overseas markets, mostly through Fujitsu Siemens Computers.
(Editing by Brent Kininmont)
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