UPDATE: Fujitsu Canada optimistic despite job cuts

A spokesperson for Fujitsu Canada said on Monday it’s unlikely the turmoil facing its parent company will have any affect on jobs.

Approximately 50 staff members with Fujitsu Canada, Inc.’s Montreal and Mississauga, Ont. facilities are still evaluating the situation, but since most are involved in warehousing, sales and marketing, and warranty support they should be unaffected by the restructuring, said Irving Frydman, national manager of marketing communications with Fujitsu Canada, Inc.

“As far as we’re concerned it’s still business as usual for Fujitsu Canada. Our business model for the most part is distribution- and channel-based, so with no production facilities here, we’re really immune from the brunt of these cutbacks throughout the world – which is good news for us,” Frydman said from his Mississauga, Ont. office.

Earlier today Fujitsu Ltd. disclosed plans to lay off 16,400 workers worldwide as part of a business reform across its entire group. The restructuring, which will hit the company with extraordinary losses of 300 billion yen (US$2.5 billion), is the company’s answer to deteriorating business conditions in many of its business units worldwide.

Roughly 5,000 jobs are expected to be cut in Japan, with the rest in North America and other regions. In order to reform the company fast, it needs to rebuild the business to return to profit in one region, so most of the job cuts will take place abroad and not in Japan, explained a Fujitsu spokesperson.

An additional 4,700 people in Japan will be affected as part of personnel transfers to the service and software sector from other sectors, according to the company.

Frydman said that the restructuring does not affect either Fujitsu Canada’s previously announced focus on notebook PCs, server and mobile applications, printers and scanners, or its shift away from the desktop drive business.

Currently, Fujitsu places in the top 10 among notebook sales vendors with a two per cent share of the Canadian market – about the same neighbourhood as Sony, according to John Stanisic, hardware research analyst at IDC Canada.

“[Two per cent] isn’t as negative as it sounds, because the notebook market in Canada is dominated by the top four – IBM, Dell Compaq and Toshiba – so once you’ve excluded the top four there are a lot of other players fighting for market share,” Stanisic said.

“Unlike desktop computers the notebook market is still a branded play. You don’t see a huge white box component to the Canadian notebook market, so [Fujitsu] should be keen on them. Notebooks are going to be one of the positives going forward in the PC market,” Stanisic explained.

The main strategy of the plan is to shift the company’s business activities towards software, said Naoyuki Akikusa, the president and company executive officer of Fujitsu. The company’s service and software division was the best performing of its four main internal divisions in the most recent quarter, beating the information processing, telecommunication and electronic devices sectors.

Fujitsu Canada is at http://ca.fujitsu.com/en/index.html