May 2014 Archives

Roland to Go Private

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Jyunichi Miki, president of Roland Corporation, announced at press conference held in Hamamatsu on 14 that the company would go privately held company by management buy out. Tokowaka Corporation in Tokyo headed by Jyunichi Miki conducts TOB to purchase Roland common stock at yen1,875 from May 15 through June 25. Taiyo Fund, the second largest stock holder of Roland has reportedly agreed to support Miki and accept TOB offer. Roland stocks closed at yen1,582 on May 14 jumped up to yen1,868 on 15 after the announcement. It's reported that total amount to complete MBO is 4.16 million yen at the maximum. Miki reportedly serves as CEO of the company after MBO completes.  

The financial crisis in 2008 seriously damaged Roland's sales of digital musical instruments. The transaction is expected to contribute to smooth decision making under new management team, and accelerating structural reform by concentration in core competence. When it goes successful, Roland can move much more flexibly to cope with the changing market and consumer needs.

Miki said, "As a private company, we would rebuild our business structure for sustained growth in the future free from short-term business assessment by stock market." He attributed stagnant sales of Roland digital musical instruments to changing consumer tastes for inexpensive products. Demands for high quality but expensive Roland instruments quickly declined after the financial crisis. The company's consolidated sales for 2013 closed at March 31 turned black after 5 consecutive terms in loss, however, Miki said that it was mainly accomplished by weakened Yen against major currencies, but sales actually deteriorated.

According to 2013 Roland annual report announced on 14, total sales for the year was 8,567 million yen, an 18.4 % increase over the same term of last year. Net profit for the term was 470 million yen against 4,066 million yen loss in 2013.

Roland also announced a plan that Roland D.G., a subsidiary of Roland, manufacturer and distributor of industry inkjet printers, 3D laser scanners, cutting plotters, digital engravers, etc. would buy back 3,560,000 stocks of Roland D.G owned by Roland, which represent 40% of the total stocks. If voting stocks of Roland declines under 40%, Roland D.G. will become an affiliated company accounted for by the equity-method.


JMT's retail music monthly survey found excellent sales in March as consumer rushed into music stores for last-minute shopping before consumption tax hike on April 1st.
Sales significantly increased on 9 tracked product categories of acoustic pianos, digital pianos, electric and acoustic guitars, stringed instruments, percussion instruments, digital music products, wind instruments and accessories. The music dealers reported extremely high customer traffic and average sales price. The last 10 days saw more than expected sales in particular with high demands for expensive items.

Eventually, the anticipated tax hike helped the music dealers prompting consumer to buy any music products they plan to buy in the near future.
Industry experts are cautiously watching coming April report. But, many dealers are optimistic saying sales dip after April will be moderate and not much affect business as a whole.
All dealers reported better sales over February. Demands were the strongest for electric guitars and wind instruments, which were followed by acoustic guitars and percussion instruments. Consumer also purchased online more than other months.


2nd Steinway Concours Finals in Japan

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Steinway Japan hosted 2nd Steinway Concours Finals in Japan at Oji Hall, Ginza, on March 30.

Inaugurated in 1936 in Hamburg, Germany, the concours offer young piano players under 16 years old, an authentic stage experience. Today, it's staged in Belgium, France, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Sweden, and more recently in China and South East Asia as well.

The largest objective of the concours is offering young talented pianists an experience to play for audience and enjoy playing Steinway piano from early age of life.

A total of 300 participants performed at semi-finals taken place at 8 cities throughout Japan this year, and 31 pianists from 4 categories were invited to the finals.

Kazuhiro Goto, president of Steinway Japan, (photo right) commented, "The contestants displayed marvelous technique and understanding of music. I was much impressed by the extremely transparent sound they delivered. Apparently, they practiced more than once on Steinway piano at local dealers and acquired a refined sense for sound. They looked very relaxed on stage enjoying playing piano. We all felt that our policy was well understood by both the contestants and audience."

Fourteen players were awarded, and Sayaka Hada from Category D (ages between 14 and 16), (photo below left) won a Grand Prix and Audience Awards. She is invited to perform at International Steinway Festival to be held from September 5 through 8 in Hamburg.