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Nakamichi R&D Company Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

3/18/2002 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Nakamichi Corp. Japan, which filed for bankruptcy protection in District Court here, is an R&D facility that is separate from Nakamichi's sales and marketing operations worldwide.

Nakamichi's sales and marketing operations are owned in full by Hong Kong's Grande Group, said Dean Miller, president of Nakamichi's U.S. sales and marketing arm. Grande also owns Nakamichi's manufacturing facilities, said Miller.

Nakamichi Corp., on the other hand, is a public company that's 58% owned by Grande Group, the Kyodo news agency said.

Grande Group is also majority owner of Sansui, Akai and Kawa. Grande purchased majority ownership in Nakamachi Corp. in 1997.

Nakamichi Corp. blamed debt as well as weak sales and declining prices for its woes. The debt, said Miller, might have been carried over from the previous owner.

Nakamichi's U.S. sales and marketing operation, Nakamichi America of Rancho Dominguez, Calif., said it is unaffected by the move. Car audio products shown at CES will be delivered in the spring, and new home audio products will ship in the fall, said Miller.

The Grande Group "will sponsor the rescue" and "assist in the rehabilitation" of Nakamichi Corp., he added.

Nakamichi Corp. cited a calendar 2001 net loss of $22.5 million, a negative net worth of $33.2 million, and total debts of $150.7 million ($1=132.68 yen), according to Kyodo News.

Nakamichi, founded in 1948, manufactured portable radios, tone arms, speakers, and communications equipment, then in 1972 launched its first Nakamichi-brand products. They were home audio products that included the world's first three-head cassette deck. In 1999, Nakamichi-brand SoundSpace audio and home theater audio systems, all design-oriented products that could be hung on a wall, were introduced to the United States.

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