Komatsu aims to halve power use in three years

Bloomberg

Battling with the power shortages stemming from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Komatsu Ltd. will spend ¥58 billion to scrap aging facilities and become more energy-efficient.

The goal of the leading equipment maker is to save several hundred million dollars a year by cutting its electricity usage in half by March 2015. As part of that effort, Komatsu said it will replace 40 of the 90 buildings at its 12 domestic plants by 2020.

Komatsu, which derived 84 percent of its sales from outside Japan in the last financial year, produces components domestically for assembly at overseas plants. Japan will remain the most important manufacturing base for Komatsu, Senior Executive Officer Yoshisada Takahashi said in an earlier interview.

“Unless we invest in people, factories and facilities in Japan, new technologies wouldn’t come to our mind,” said Takahashi.

“Cutbacks in electricity will be an unavoidable issue for Japan,” said Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at Itochu Corp. The government should offer power-saving incentives to enable owners of homes, factories and office buildings to boost spending and prop up the economy, he said.

To meet its target of cutting electricity usage by half, Komatsu plans to save 10 percent by eliminating wasteful use of lights and air conditioners and another 10 percent from using natural resources, while production efficiencies will drive the remaining 30 percent, Takahashi said.