Japan's Olympus scales down India business projection

New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) Japanese electronics giant Olympus has scaled down growth projection for its India camera business to 10 percent from around 40 percent estimate made earlier due to the difficult economic situation in the country, a top company official said.

However, the long-term growth potential in India remained strong, said the official.

"At the beginning of the year we were expecting something like 40 to 50 percent growth. Based on the current realities we have scaled down our expectations," Kenichiro Mori, managing dirctor of Olympus Imaging India, told IANS.

He said the company registered around 10 percent growth in the first half (April-September) of the current financial year and was expecting similar growth in the second half.

"This year we are expecting 10 percent growth," he said in an interview.

Mori said Olympus Imaging that set up its India unit in April 2012 was expecting high growth in the market.

"We are far away from the expectations. The economic situation is difficult. Consumer sentiments are really bad," he said.

Mori, however, said the long-term growth potential in India remained strong and the company was hopeful that sales would pick up from next year.

"India is one of the most attractive markets. We are confident of the growth potential of the market and have long-term plans," said 39-year-old Mori, who has been associated with Olympus for over 16 years and has worked in several countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

He said Olympus' target is to enhance its market share in India's imaging business to 10 percent by 2015 from around three percent now.

India is among the few growth markets for the Japanese electronics giant that has almost halved its global sales projection of compact camera to nearly 2.7 million for the current fiscal ending March 2014.

Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Olympus Corporation is one of the world's biggest maker of camera and medical equipment. It is the largest maker of endoscopic cameras used by surgeons.

The company, suffering from high debt and financial scandals, last year announced its decision to cut 2,700 jobs and reduce the number of factories around the world from 30 to 18 by 2015.

Asked about its impact on India business, Mori said: "India has not been affected at all. Globally, as we have shifted product focus, we have taken certain strategic decisions. These will, however, not affect our India operations, as we are doing very well in India and look to grow by leaps and bounds."

On growing competition from smartphone on camera business, Mori said it was having a negative impact on low-end category, but in the long-run it should boost the growth of premium camera segment.

Olympus recently launched mirrorless camera in India priced at over Rs.100,000. Mori said such high-end products would drive the growth of camera business.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be reached at gyanendra.k@ians.in)

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