Yamaha Motor cuts jobs, closes plants

Japanese motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor announced Friday plans to close seven factories globally with the loss of 1,000 jobs, in an effort to bounce back from a 2.4-billion-dollar annual loss.

Yamaha, the world’s second biggest motorcycle manufacturer after Honda, said it would cut 200 jobs overseas, on top of the 800 in Japan announced last week.

The streamlining is also in addition to a 10-percent reduction in the company’s global workforce of 17,000 already underway, a Yamaha spokesman said.

The group will shut five of its 12 domestic factories by 2012, all in Shizuoka prefecture, central Japan, now producing parts for motorcycles, marine products and buggies.

Overseas, Yamaha will close a motorcycling factory in Italy and a marine products plant in the US state of Florida.

"The company is expanding the scope of three structural reforms — reorganising the manufacturing layout, the workforce and reducing costs — beyond the level envisioned in the previous announcement," Yamaha said.

Yamaha said it suffered a net loss of 216.1 billion yen (2.4 billion dollars) for the year to December, against a year-earlier profit of 1.8 billion yen.

Revenue dropped 28.1 percent to 1.15 trillion yen in 2009 as the economic slump dented sales of motorcycles and marine products both at home and overseas, Yamaha said.

For 2010, the company expects to break even on a net basis with solid demand in Asia projected to lift revenue by 8.4 percent to 1.25 trillion yen.

But "demand in Europe and the United States is not expected to recover for some time," it said. "Thus, sales conditions surrounding the Yamaha Motor Group are expected to remain harsh," it said.