Hoya to cut Japan digital camera workforce-Nikkei

NEW YORK, March 17 - Hoya Corp 7741.T plans to cut the Japanese workforce in its digital camera operations to less than 400 employees from about 800 currently, the financial daily Nikkei said in its Wednesday edition.

Nikkei said most of the Japanese job cuts will come from sales, production management and development.

“Targeted employees will be encouraged to retire early or will be reassigned,” it said.

The paper said Hoya will also cut its overseas digital camera workforce, mostly in sales. “It has yet to decide how many of the roughly 300 targeted employees will be let go,” Nikkei said, but the 2,000-member overseas production workforce will not be affected.

It said the job cuts are intended to save more than 5 billion yen ($50.7 million) per year in fixed costs and help Hoya return to profitability “on a monthly basis” in the second half of fiscal 2009.

Hoya merged with Pentax Corp last March, acquiring its digital camera business. Nikkei said that business is believed to have lost money on an operating basis for the nine months that ended Dec. 31. ($1=98.6419 yen) (Reporting by Gerald E. McCormick, editing by Maureen Bavdek)