Fujifilm to keep film biz despite digital onslaught


Fujifilm Holdings Corp. will maintain its photographic film business, even though demand for films has slumped due to the popularity of digital cameras, according to President Shigehiro Nakajima.

“We will continue (the business),” Nakajima said in a recent interview.

Explaining the reason for the decision, he said, “Fujifilm would be the only one that can supply photo films if Eastman Kodak Co. leaves.” The U.S. film maker went bankrupt in January.

At Fujifilm, photo films accounted for less than 1 percent of the company’s total sales in fiscal 2011, down from 19 percent in fiscal 2000.

Nakajima said that the company will be required to take measures in the future to improve the profitability of the photo film business, including trimming its product lineup and passing higher costs onto customers.

On Fujifilm’s proposal for a business and capital alliance it made to Olympus Corp., Nakajima said his company is still waiting for a reply.

At present, Sony Corp. is believed to be in the lead as a potential partner of the struggling optical product maker tainted with by massive loan coverup scandal. But Nakajima made it clear his firm won’t give up.

On the digital camera business, Nakajima said that “sales volume is unlikely to grow much” from this point forward, offering the view that the market has become fully mature.

Fujifilm will increase products with wider profit margins, such as cameras with interchangeable lenses and high-end compact cameras, he said.

Asked about intensifying competition from South Korea, Nakajima showed his confidence in Fujifilm’s technology.

It is impossible to instantly become a camera lens maker because production involves a lot of knowhow, Nakajima said. “We won’t be defeated by South Korean makers,” he promised.