Okuma Corp., the Japanese manufacturer of CNC lathes, machining centres, and grinders, announced an increase in turnover to ¥213.8 billion (about $2 billion) in its fiscal year ending March 31, 2008. This represented growth in sales of 13.3%. This level of activity makes the 2,674-employee company, which includes the former Okuma & Howa subsidiary that is now wholly integrated, one of the largest machine tool manufacturers in the world.
Shortly before the figures were announced, in what is Okuma’s 110th year of business, Yoshimaro Hanaki, the president and CEO, gave some background and described the company’s latest developments.
One reason for the record turnover and after-tax profit (up 14.5%), said Hanaki, was sales growth in Asia, which 10 years ago stood at ¥4 billion and last year was ¥30 billion. Growth in China has been considerable, helped by the production of simple turning machines and machining centres in Okuma’s Beijing factory.
Okuma built around 8,000 machines last year at its Oguchi, Kani, and Konan plants near Nagoya. Exports accounted for half of company turnover and amounted to 10.5% of Japan’s total machine tool exports by value. Okuma’s domestic sales represented approximately 12% of the Japanese market. The company’s export target is 60% of sales.
Okuma invests some 2 to 3% of turnover annually in research and development. A current R&D focus for the company involves large machines for the heavy industrial, petrochemical, printing, construction, wind turbine, and aerospace sectors.
Production growth is handled by expansion of factory capacity. Okuma opened a fifth factory unit at its Kani plant last year, and this year opened two new facilities on its Oguchi headquarters complex. The Okuma Machine Fair 2008 was held in May in conjunction with the opening of the latter facilities.
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