• Kyodo News

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Canon Inc. plans to spend up to ¥1 trillion in the next five years on mergers and acquisitions in the medical and robot businesses by taking advantage of the strong yen, Chairman Fujio Mitarai told Kyodo News in a recent interview.

Under its five-year business plan until 2015, the company will also set up new bases in the United States and Europe in addition to the Japanese one for research and development in cutting-edge technologies in the medical and printing fields, Mitarai said.

As the current strength of the yen provides an advantage for the firm in acquiring overseas companies, “We’d like to actively proceed with mergers and acquisitions,” Mitarai said, adding Canon already has merger targets in sight.

By acquiring the new businesses, the company is aiming to chalk up consolidated sales of over ¥5 trillion and a net profit of ¥500 billion in 2015, Mitarai said.

The company is considering acquiring businesses in the medical field, including medical equipment and gene engineering, as well as industrial and nursing-care robots, and some of the acquisitions could involve several hundred billion yen, he said.

On the amount of M&A cash needed, Mitarai said the company has about ¥900 billion in hand and added that it will employ methods such as equity swaps to reduce costs when acquiring domestic firms.

Mitarai said the company will set up bases both in the United States and Europe to oversee research and development activities in each region, Mitarai said.

The U.S. base will focus on the medical field, while the European one will be specialized in developing technologies for such fields as high-speed printing, he said.

On major production bases, Mitarai said, “It is important to keep them in Japan” in a bid to secure employment, adding the company plans to continue producing high-value-added goods in Japan.

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