(Recasts to add details from Nikkei report, background)
By Rushil Dutta
March 8 (Reuters) - Japan’s Ricoh Co Ltd plans to cut about 4,000 jobs as early as fiscal year 2019 to streamline its struggling, core office-equipment business, the Nikkei reported on Thursday.
The company will let go off 3,000 employees through a sale of a logistics unit in Japan and trim management positions in Europe — reducing its global workforce by 4 percent, the Japanese daily said. (s.nikkei.com/2tmllLY)
Ricoh and legacy companies that supply office printing equipment such as Xerox Corp have been looking to sell assets and focus on other areas of growth as paper printing increasingly gives way to digital alternatives.
Earlier this year, Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings said it would buy Xerox in a $6.1 billion deal to gain scale and cut costs. That proposal has, however, hit road blocks as two of Xerox’s top shareholders — Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason — opposed the deal.
Ricoh, meanwhile, has already cut over 5,000 jobs in North America since beginning of this year, the Nikkei said.
The 59-year old company has reported declining profits for the past four years. Its stock has shed nearly two-thirds of its market value since its peak in 2007.
Ricoh did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.
The Nikkei said last month that Ricoh was conducting impairment tests on its slumping North American business, and may have to take a related charge of about 100 billion yen ($943.04 million).
The company will sell a copier factory in the Chinese industrial hub Shenzhen and is planning to dispose of its equity stake in a Coca-Cola distributor for about 56 billion yen ($528.50 million), the Japanese business daily reported on Thursday.
Expenses related to the job cuts and other restructuring efforts are expected to weigh on the company’s fiscal 2018 performance, the Nikkei reported.
Ricoh will also set aside 200 billion yen for acquisitions of commercial and industrial printing companies as it looks to move away from office printing, according to the report.
$1 = 106.0400 yen Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sayantani Ghosh