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Minolta-Konica merger - "business as usual"

Minolta-Konica merger - "business as usual"

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Two became one this week when Konica and Minolta officially announced the completion of a merger.

But the national marketing manager of Minolta Australia, Daniel Gard, predicted it would be “business as usual” until April for the reseller networks of both organisations.

“As we move closer to that date, you will see more defined channel strategies and a more dynamic business model in terms of product offerings,” he said.

“There will be more reseller products for the low end and SOHO markets made available as well as a move to establish retail and mass merchant business.

“We will also look to leverage the successes of the Minolta-QMS printer division, which has been operating separately but will eventually become part of the same organisation.”

Sources say Konica Australia boss, Norihiko Oba, is likely to become managing director of the new operations locally. Minolta Australia general manager, Graeme Fisher, is expected to be given a new senior executive role this week.

Prior to the merger, Konica was doing business worth an estimated $120 million a year in Australia. Minolta business in Australia was about $50 million while Minolta-QMS annual revenues were in the region of $12 million.

Gard said he could neither confirm nor deny whether there would be a reduction in workforce numbers.

It is understood some consolidation in numbers would be inevitable – with logistics, warehousing and administration highlighted as vulnerable areas. Rationalisation details would be announced in October.

Consolidation was also expected where there was regional duplication in the dealer networks of the new Konica Minolta entity, Gard said.

Sources say the Australian arm of Konica Minolta Holdings would be headquartered at the current Konica HQ in the Sydney suburb of North Ryde – which was currently undergoing a $1 million refurbishment . Gard could neither confirm or deny this.

The “business as usual” line would be most relevant to the distributors and resellers of Minolta-QMS, according to its Australian managing director, Stuart Drysdale.

He has written to his distributors – Tech Pacific and Alloys – as well as his resellers to tell them the only change will be a new badge on products as of October 1.

“Our current strategy of two-tier distribution doesn’t change,” he told ARN. “Neither does our workforce.

“If anything, the merger will simply provide our channel partners with an additional sales channel.”

Drysdale revealed the company had planned to drop the QMS part of its name but decided not to go ahead once the merger was announced in January.


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