Hitachi restructures European operations

Hitachi Ltd., Japan’s largest electronics company, is merging its European home electronics business with its other European operations as part of a global realignment effort, the company announced Tuesday.

On April 1, Hitachi Home Electronics (Europe) Ltd. will cease to exist as a separate legal entity and its two business groups, the Digital Media Group and the Consumer Products Group, will become part of Hitachi Europe Ltd., the company said in a statement. The move should not affect customers, Hitachi said.

Additionally, the Digital Media Group will focus on products such as plasma TVs, LCD (liquid crystal display) projectors and digital video cameras, moving away from traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors and televisions, Hitachi said. The company sees a convergence of the business and home markets for electronics and feels it can better cater to that converged market by realigning.

In December Hitachi closed a TV manufacturing plant in Wales and about 170 people lost their jobs. Tuesday’s announcement does not have any affect on jobs, a Hitachi spokesman said. The company’s move away from CRTs was announced mid-2001.

The Consumer Products Group will continue to sell its products, mainly household appliances, across Europe, Hitachi said.

The European shuffle is part of Hitachi’s worldwide plan to increase its sales outside Japan to 50 per cent of its total sales. The company also intends to hire more local senior executives and coordinate its international business on a regional basis instead of from corporate headquarters in Tokyo.

Hitachi employs more than 650 people in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The company’s EMEA business has eight key areas, including information systems, high performance computing and electronic components.

Hitachi Europe Ltd., in Maidenhead, England, can be reached at +44-1628-585000, or on the Web at

Hitachi Ltd., in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3258-1111 or