Japanese audio equipment maker Kenwood Corp. will exit from its mobile phone operation later this month, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.
The move will reportedly be accompanied with an employment cut through voluntary retirement of 250 staff at its facility in Yamagata of western Japan, or 62 percent of the workforce there, the paper's online Saturday edition said.
An official at Kenwood USA declined to comment, but said the company had already withdrawn from the cell phone business in the U.S. after 2 years of operation since 1991.
The report comes 1 day after Kenwood revised up its forecast for the first-half ended September from nil to a profit of 800 million yen (U.S. $6.4 million).
The company attributed the revision -- the first upward revision in 6 years -- to sharp cost cutting as a result of restructuring steps that included job cuts and plant closures.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun estimated that Kenwood sold about 700,000 handsets in the fiscal year that ended March 2002, notching an operating profit of some 1 billion yen on revenue of about 40 billion yen. (Reuters)
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