Penta-Ocean Construction Co. said Monday it has appointed Senior Managing Director Hideaki Kato as its president, replacing Renpei Mizuno, who will become chairman.

The management reshuffle, approved at a board meeting Monday, will take effect April 1, the waterfront project builder said.

Kato, 54, became senior managing director in June 2000.

The company also said it will introduce an early retirement program, as it anticipates its business environment worsening due to a steep fall in corporate capital spending and outlays on public works projects.

Workers aged 45 to 58 are eligible for the program, under which additional benefits will be offered in addition to regular retirement allowances.

Employees can apply for the program between April 1 and Sept. 30, the company said, adding that it estimates about 190 will take advantage of the offer.

The program will cost about 2 billion yen, but will not affect its earnings for the current business year, as it will not book the loss until it is actually incurred, the firm said. The early retirement program is expected to help save 2 billion yen in labor costs a year.

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