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Sony To Close Lens Plant

Tokyo – Sony revealed on Friday that as part of an expedited cost-cutting and headcount reduction effort, it will close one of its Japan-based lens making operations.

“The manufacture of interchangeable lenses and lens blocks currently being conducted at Sony’s site located in Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, will be absorbed by its site located in Kohda, Aichi Prefecture,” the company said in a statement Sunday.

The Minokamo site has 840 employees and comprises 49,913 square meters of space. It has been used to produce interchangeable lenses for SLRs, lens blocks and mobile phones.

Sony recently took a large equity position in camera and optical products manufacturer Olympus, and also holds an 11 percent stake in lens maker Tamron, which may have made the plant closing possible.

In other consolidation steps, the company statement said: “As Sony concentrates its mobile phone business on the area of smartphones, the operations currently being carried out at the Minokamo site relating to mobile phones will be partially discontinued and partially transferred to Sony EMCS Corp.’s Kisarazu site. As a result of this realignment, the Minokamo site is scheduled to close at the end of March 2013.”

In total, the measures are expected to result in headcount reduction of approximately 2,000 employees by the end of the 2012 fiscal year, Sony said, with approximately half of the reductions (1,000 employees) expected to be in support functions, including the headquarters of Sony.

Sony said that at its headquarters operations, a headcount reduction of approximately 20 percent is expected by the end of the current fiscal year through the introduction of an early-retirement program and resource shifts. Headcount within the home entertainment and sound business group — including the TV business group, which has been implementing a series of ongoing profitability improvement measures — is expected to be reduced by approximately 20 percent by the end of October 2012 due to the transfer of employees outside the company, together with a resource shift in personnel to other operations within the Sony group.