Yamaha Motor to Close Seven Plants

Will eliminate 1,000 jobs

Motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor announced on Feb. 12 plans to close seven factories globally with the loss of 1,000 jobs, in an effort to bounce back from a $2.4 billion annual loss.

Yamaha, the world's second biggest motorcycle manufacturer after Honda, said it would cut 200 jobs overseas, on top of the 800 in Japan announced last week.

The streamlining is also in addition to a 10% reduction in the company's global workforce of 17,000 already underway, a Yamaha spokesman said.

The group will shut five of its 12 domestic factories by 2012, all in Shizuoka prefecture, central Japan, now producing parts for motorcycles, marine products and buggies.

Overseas, Yamaha will close a motorcycling factory in Italy and a marine products plant in Florida.

"The company is expanding the scope of three structural reforms -- reorganizing the manufacturing layout, the workforce and reducing costs -- beyond the level envisioned in the previous announcement," Yamaha said.

Yamaha said it suffered a net loss of 216.1 billion yen (US$2.4 billion) for the year to December, against a year-earlier profit of 1.8 billion yen. Revenue dropped 28.1% to 1.15 trillion yen in 2009 as the economic slump dented sales of motorcycles and marine products both at home and overseas, Yamaha said.

For 2010, the company expects to break even on a net basis with solid demand in Asia projected to lift revenue by 8.4% to 1.25 trillion yen.

But "demand in Europe and the United States is not expected to recover for some time," it said. "Thus, sales conditions surrounding the Yamaha Motor Group are expected to remain harsh," it said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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