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Konica Minolta JV arrangement with U-Bix

Global giant Konica Minolta enters
joint venture arrangement with New Zealand business icon U-Bix


Office technology company Onesource, a subsidiary of the Hanover Group, and Konica Minolta announced today their intention to form a joint venture that will see Konica Minolta New Zealand merging with U-Bix, the document solutions division of Onesource.

This joint venture operation will firmly position the combined business as the leader in the domestic copier/printer market.

Hanover Group chief executive Kerry Finnigan says the merger is strategic for both U-Bix and Konica Minolta NZ and logically follows the global merger of imaging giants Konica and Minolta completed in October of last year. The local merger is planned to take place by July 1 this year.

“Both U-Bix and Konica Minolta NZ are successful and growing businesses in their own rights and will form a very powerful joint venture organisation.

“Konica Minolta Business Technologies (Japan) will retain a strategic shareholding in the joint venture which reflects the smaller size of their New Zealand operation relative to that of U-Bix. This move underlines their confidence in U-Bix as a business partner and confirms their ongoing support and commitment to the New Zealand market.

“It is anticipated that Konica Minolta NZ will continue to operate as a distinct business division alongside U-Bix for the immediate future. Once the two businesses have been fully merged it is expected that the new venture will embrace the Konica Minolta brand and trading name.

“U-Bix has had a very close relationship with Konica for over 30 years and has been the exclusive distributor of Konica products in New Zealand. Likewise Konica Minolta NZ (formerly Minolta NZ) has also held a successful position in the market here for over 25 years providing Minolta products. Following the global merger, it was a logical outcome for Konica Minolta to merge their New Zealand operations with U-Bix.”

Newly appointed Onesource chief executive officer Evan Johnson sees this as a positive outcome for all parties: “U-Bix customers will have access to an extensive product range flowing from the combined research and development of Konica and Minolta. The full range of products will be marketed in New Zealand under the Konica Minolta brand from October 1 this year.
“U-Bix will consolidate its market leading position in the imaging and document production market. This is particularly important as we compete for the extremely fast growing market for multifunction copying and printing devices – MFD’s – and in particular the rapidly growing full colour market,“ says Johnson.

Konica Minolta New Zealand general manager Jan Nicol also sees this as a positive move for both companies.

“This transaction will secure solid market leadership for Konica Minolta, whilst providing our customers with the largest and most sophisticated customer service network of its type in the country.

“Staff from both businesses will benefit from the opportunities that come from being part of a much larger company,” says Nicol.

U-Bix’s 350 staff and the 135 staff of Konica Minolta New Zealand will be joining together in the new joint venture entity.

Konica Minolta, based in Tokyo, Japan, merged their global operations last year to become a major player in the imaging industry. With a combined turnover of $NZ16 billion and over 35,000 staff, they are a substantial organisation for U-Bix to have as a key strategic partner.

Konica Minolta recently launched their new award winning colour printing technology in New Zealand through U-Bix, which is achieving enormous success here and internationally. Later this year will be the release of a new high speed copier/printer that will take Konica Minolta head on into the production printing market in New Zealand. These will complement the already successful range of office based business solutions.

In New Zealand to support the announcement of the new joint venture agreement is Konica Minolta Business Technologies general manager Mr Ko Hasegawa.

Hasegawa believes that this is an extremely important merger for Konica Minolta. “Our intention is to promote the Konica Minolta brand more extensively and to achieve a solid market leadership position in New Zealand,” he says.

“Konica Minolta Business Technologies is confident that U-Bix shares the Konica Minolta vision, philosophy and business direction and have already demonstrated this with their recent success in the colour production market.

“As market leaders in the New Zealand copier market U-Bix have shown themselves to be a strong and successful competitor. Konica Minolta Business Technologies is taking a long term view of the New Zealand market place and to reflect this will be signing a long term exclusive distribution agreement with the new joint venture.

“We expect to see the Konica Minolta brand go from strength to strength in New Zealand as it will around the world.”


ENDS

Background information on Onesource Ltd

U-Bix is the document solutions business of Onesource. Onesource has annual revenues in excess of $115 million and employs more than 550 people at 13 offices in main centres nationwide. Formed in 2002, Onesource combines the people and operations of U-Bix Document Solutions and Cogent Communications.

From being number one in copiers, U-Bix has grown to become New Zealand’s market leader in the provision and service of sophisticated, integrated, document solutions.

URL: http://www.onesource.co.nz.

Background information on Hanover Group Ltd

Hanover Group is New Zealand's largest privately owned financial services group offering a diverse portfolio of companies including: Elders Finance Ltd, Nationwide Finance Ltd, United Finance Ltd, FAI Finance Ltd, Leasing Solutions Ltd, Elders Home Loans Ltd, Australian Finance Direct Ltd, Hanover Securities Ltd and Onesource Ltd (U-Bix/Cogent).

Hanover has a total consolidated group asset base in excess of $1 billion. It has a customer base of over 20,000 investors and employs more than 670 people in Australasia.

Hanover Group delivers a full range of investment and finance products to a cross section of industries including agriculture, forestry, business supplies, technology & communications, property and accommodation, retail, manufacturing, transport/logistics, tourism, healthcare, business and consumer finance.

Strategic investments include Onesource Ltd., which comprises Cogent Communications Ltd and U-Bix Document Solutions Ltd.

Directors of Hanover Group Ltd are: Mark Hotchin (Executive Chairman); Kerry Finnigan (CEO); Maurice Kidd.

Shareholders are: the Hotchin Trust (Mark Hotchin Family Trust) 50 per cent; Peak Trust (interests associated with Eric Watson) 50 per cent.

URL: http://www.hanover.co.nz

Background information on Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc.

In August 2003, the Konica Minolta Group was newly formed by integrating managements of Konica Corporation and Minolta Co. Ltd. The management philosophy of Konica Minolta Group is "The creation of new value". Their core technologies are material technology, optical technology, nanotechnology, and image processing technology.

"The essentials of imaging" is their corporate message, with the objective of delivering essential products, services and solutions to customers in the world of imaging. Konica Minolta’s goal for fiscal 2005 is to post 1.3 trillion yen in consolidated sales and 150 billion yen on operating income.


Background information on Konica Minolta Business Solutions New Zealand Ltd.

Konica Minolta New Zealand (formerly Minolta New Zealand Limited) has annual revenues in excess of $27 million and employs 135 people together with a dealer network that covers 15 locations nationwide.

Konica Minolta NZ combines people and technologies to provide printing, photocopying and scanning business solutions.

Issued on behalf of Hanover Ltd by Sorensen Group.
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