Mitsui Computer, one of Australia's top 10 distributors, is to wind its business down over the next three months, the company announced today. The decision came from Mitsui Japan, which has been experiencing its own financial difficulties recently.
The Japanese parent put the Australian company on notice several months ago as its business was not performing as expected, and invited it to devise a plan which would demonstrate that it could be viable for the next five years, according to a source within the company. A proposal put to the Japanese shareholders was rejected, and the decision made to shut down the Australian operation in Frenchs Forest.
The announcement also cited "a change in Mitsui's global investment strategies" as a reason for the decision.
Mitsui Computer was founded in 1979 and was jointly owned by Australian and Japanese shareholders.
Managing director John Durbin made the announcement this morning to 125 employees. Approached for comment after the announcement, Durbin said he had nothing to add to the company's press release. Most personnel have been given one month's notice, with only a skeleton staff expected to remain for the final two months largely in technical support, according to Mitsui staff approached by ARN.
Mitsui Computer reported revenue of $71 million for 1996/97, down from $78 million the year before.
Recently core parts of its business, such as Sun Microsystems and SunSoft distributorship, had fallen away. Last year, the company was burnt when Apple Computer's decision to cancel Mac OS clone licensing effectively killed Mitsui's distribution of Power Computing machines. However, the company still reported strong business from its sales of pre-press hardware and software, including QuarkXPress and Intergraph ExtremeZ Windows NT workstations.
The company said that it expected to be able to pay its creditors in full, and all employees would receive their full financial entitlements.
A number of other distributors are said to be jockeying to pick up the more lucrative of Mitsui's product lines. The company's announcement said that a letter would soon be sent to customers advising of new distribution arrangements, warranty and service contracts.
Resellers or customers who require further information about products purchased from Mitsui can call 1800 801 444.