Nikon to cut 1,000 jobs amid losses in chipmaking gear business

Nikon plans to book 48 billion yen (S$638.7 million) in restructuring costs in the year ending March 2017. PHOTO: ST FILE

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Nikon is cutting 1,000 jobs to cope with losses in the division that makes machines used to produce chips and declining camera sales.

The digital-camera maker plans to book 48 billion yen (S$638.7 million) in restructuring costs in the year ending March 2017, it said in a statement Tuesday. The maker of Coolpix digital cameras also cut its annual sales outlook by 2.4 per cent to 800 billion yen. Executives will forgo their bonuses and take a cut in monthly pay starting November.

Nikon is trimming its camera product lineup to focus on high-end models. The company will also slash development costs for immersion steppers, lithography machines that etch semiconductor circuits onto silicon, citing slow uptake by customers. That's likely to widen the gap with ASML Holding, the world's biggest maker of lithography gear, which is speeding up development a new optical system for the next generation of machines.

ASML earlier this month agreed to buy a stake in a Carl Zeiss unit and invest 220 million euros (S$337.4 million) in research and development, and make 540 million euros in other related investments over the next six years.

The machines made by the Veldhoven, Netherlands-based company use concentrated light rays to burn lines into layers of materials deposited on silicon, a crucial step in creating semiconductors. So-called EUV machines promise to enable chipmakers to produce smaller semiconductors while increasing the capacity and speed for devices such as handsets and tablets.

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