Pulling the plug on a money-losing diversification, MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL CORP. is exiting the floppy disk field in the United States and elsewhere. That decision means the end of production for Charlotte, North Carolina-based VERBATIM CORP. Once the world's biggest producer of floppy disks, the company has seen its business falter since 1995 along with sliding demand for 3.5-inch storage media. Verbatim's losses total an estimated $150 million, including some $40 million in red ink posted in FY 1997 and a projected $20 million loss in the current fiscal year. Roughly 200 employees at the firm's floppy disk plant in Chesapeake, Virginia are directly affected by the shutdown. Mitsubishi Chemical acquired Verbatim in 1990 at a cost of approximately $285 million, although it built the Virginia plant on its own. The subsidiary will be restructured into a sales company for Mitsubishi Chemical-made compact discs and other storage media. KAO CORP. also recently stopped U.S. production of floppy disks (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 344, May 1998, p. 3).
KANEMATSU CORP.'s Somerset, New Jersey office is selling the high- speed, high-performance ViviCO Print Server developed by NIPPON TECHNO LAB, INC. with FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD.'s Pictrography 4000 digital color printer. Designed for Windows NT servers, ViviCO provides two types of PostScript Level-2 RIP (raster image processing) and direct-image printing as well as scanning, faxing and electronic mail capabilities, all managed via a Java-based Web browser. To speed up output, it can simultaneously RIP while spooling and RIP while printing. Kanematsu has priced the package at just under $8,000. It expects to sell 4,000 ViviCO- equipped Pictrography 4000 printers in the initial year of marketing.
An exchange rate of ¥141=$1.00 was used in this report.