Hitachi restructures loss-making units

17 March 2009

TOKYO: Hitachi, Japan's biggest electronics manufacturer, has predicted it will make a loss of ¥700 billion ($7.1bn; €5.5bn; £5.0bn) this year, and is planning to spin-off its ailing consumer electronics and automotive divisions.

From July, Hitachi's consumer electronics arm, which manufactures goods including flat-screen TVs, and its automotive business, which is increasingly focusing on environmentally-friendly products, will be counted as separate firms.

Alongside these changes, it is appointing Takashi Kawamura, currently chairman of Hitachi Plant Technologies, as its new president and chairman in April, with Kazuo Furukawa, its current president, taking up the role of vice chairman.

Asahi, the Japanese brewer, has also announced it is to purchase Cadbury's Australian drinks arm for A$1.19bn ($774m; €595m; £548m), as part of its aim to expand its operations internationally.

Coca-Cola had the first option on buying Schweppes Australia, but did not want to "pursue its right of negotiation," according to Cadbury.

Asahi says the deal "will enable us to lay groundwork in Oceania, and not just in Asian nations."

Data sourced from Financial Times/Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff