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Kenwood USA Sees Parent's Support Continuing

6/18/2002 02:56:00 PM Eastern

Long Beach, Calif. - Haruo Kawahara, the new president of Kenwood Corp. in Japan, 'is supportive of what we're doing in the U.S.,' Kenwood USA president Joe Richter told TWICE.

Richter's assessment followed a meeting in Tokyo with Kawahara, who was hired to restructure Kenwood worldwide and return it to profitability by the end of the current fiscal year ending March 31.

Before flying out to Tokyo with Kenwood Americas president Bruce Tatsuta, Richter told TWICE he doubted the worldwide restructuring would require significant changes in the U.S. He pointed out that Kenwood USA already restructuring during the past two years, and he cited the U.S. subsidiary's strength in car audio, communications, and home audio. Nonetheless, Richter said he scheduled the meeting with the new president to 'determine his expectations for the U.S.'

Although he didn't offer details, Richter said his previous assessment stands.

Kawahara's industry experience bodes well for the parent company, Richter said. Kawahara was a Toshiba advisor and a senior advisor to U.S. investment company Ripplewood Holdings, which engineered Denon's spinoff from Nippon Columbia and the following Denon-Marantz merger.

As part of its restructuring, Kenwood Corp. will close underperforming sales subsidiaries, slim headquarters staff, restructure sales subsidiaries, significantly reduce SGA expenses, and sell or eliminate unprofitable businesses will accomplish this reduction, a company statement said. Kenwood will also close and consolidate factories.

'The banks have committed for two years to support our present plan,' Richter noted.