New Year’s Greetings and Company Update from Konica Minolta President Masatoshi Matsuzaki
I have great pleasure in offering you my best wishes for the New Year.
In 2013, the world economy that had remained stagnant for the past few years began to show encouraging signs of recovery in general, supported by the increased economic growth rate of advanced countries of Japan, the U.S. and Europe, which more than offset the negative effects of the economic slowdown seen in some emerging countries. The general opinion is that the economic improvement is expected to continue into 2014 on a global level, though at a slow pace, backed by positive factors such as the promotion of the economic growth strategy by the Abe administration in Japan; the steady rise in domestic demand and exports in Germany, which leads the European economy; and the increase in consumer spending and improvement of corporate performance in the U.S. At the same time, we are aware of negative factors that are likely to affect the global economy, including the rise in Japan’s consumption tax rate this coming April, which may result in a decline in consumer spending and economic downturn; the uncertainty of the financial policy of the U.S.; the economic imbalance in the euro area; and the bad debt problem that faces Southern European countries.
In such an economic environment, the Konica Minolta Group continued dedicated efforts to facilitate transformation in each of our core businesses of Business Technologies Business, Industrial Business and Healthcare Business in order to achieve sustainable growth. In April 2013, we, as Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc., implemented a reorganization of our business management system by merging with seven companies in the Konica Minolta Group and made a fresh start as Konica Minolta, Inc. to run business directly. The main objectives of the reorganization were to strengthen the management of our Business Technologies Business and to leverage management resources more strategically and nimbly. The resulting structure enables us to effectively expedite the process toward transformation in respective business fields and consequently toward sustainable growth. Already, this reorganization has yielded tangible results: the improvement in the performance of our core business operation (Business Technologies Business) and a deepening of solidarity among members of the Konica Minolta Group around the world.
We also place importance on CSR activities. In Japan, we launched the “Guest Lectures” program two years ago. Under this program new hires of Konica Minolta visit junior and senior high schools to give lectures on scientific topics. Designed to get children interested in science, this program has won great popularity among teachers and students alike, and was implemented in six schools last year. Overseas, we have supported a project organized by the Green Marathon, an annual race held in Rennes, France, since 2011. This project is about planting trees in Ethiopia in eastern Africa according to the distances run and thus contributes to reforestation in Ethiopia and also helps to create employment in this country. In fiscal 2013, we increased our commitment to this project by becoming its title sponsor. These are representative of our continuous and forward-looking initiatives that contribute to the good of society as well as our solutions for environmental and other social issues, for which we received awards and have been highly commended by many organizations, both Japanese and foreign. Specifically, we were included for the first time in the Gold Class category by RobecoSAM, a world leader in SRI rating, in February 2013, and in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, a prestigious benchmark for worldwide corporate sustainability, for the second consecutive year in September 2013. We were also given a “2013 Environment Minister’s Award for Global Warming Prevention Activity” by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment in December 2013.
Fiscal 2014 is the first year of the next Medium Term Business Plan, and we are now working to determine details of the plan which will guide us to sustainable growth. Specific objectives and policy of the new Medium Term Business Plan will be announced after they are finalized. For now, let me just tell you that the basic strategy of the plan will emphasize the pursuit of customer value and the genre-top strategy; while its policy will aim at achieving sustainable growth in profitability, establishing a robust corporate structure, and effecting change to a more customer-oriented company.
Under the management philosophy “The Creation of New Value,” Konica Minolta will remain committed to creating and offering “new value” that is meaningful for society with our proven innovation capability, thereby contributing to the betterment of society.
This year, as ever, your continued support and encouragement is greatly appreciated.