Konica Minolta leaves camera business

Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. said Thursday it will pull out of the money-losing camera business and will sell part of a plant, development knowledge and other assets for digital cameras to Sony Corp. Instead, the company will focus on technologies that don't cater directly to consumers such as optics and display devices, it said.

Terms of the agreement with Sony were not disclosed. The Japanese equipment maker and Sony have developed single-lens reflex digital cameras together since last July. Tokyo-based Konica Minolta will cut 3,700 jobs, or 11 percent of its global work force of 33,000, including early retirement by Sept. 30, 2007, the company said in a statement. The company provided no regional breakdown, spokeswoman Yuko Ogiso said.

The company said the global camera and photo business has been rapidly dwindling, making it difficult to make profits in those operations. Thursday's decisions are part of the company's reform efforts that began last year. Sony will take a minority stake in a plant in Malaysia that produces cameras, and other details of the asset transfer are still being worked out, Ogiso said, reports the AP. N.U.