TOKYO -- Amid declining demand for its mainstay office automation equipment, Konica Minolta is turning to health care and the "internet of things" to propel its growth, setting a short-term target of generating sales of 200 billion yen ($1.81 billion) in its health care operations in fiscal 2021.
The company is shooting for at least 30 billion yen in operating profit from the health care business, CEO Shoei Yamana told The Nikkei in a recent interview.
Key to this goal is California-based Ambry Genetics, which Konica Minolta will buy this year for up to $1 billion with funding assistance from the Innovation Network Corp. of Japan. Founded in 1999, Ambry performs genetic screenings for such conditions as breast and intestinal cancer and will launch these operations in Japan in fiscal 2018.
Yamana said he aims for Konica Minolta to become a "global leader" in precision medicine, which takes into account such factors as the patient's genetic information to find the best treatment. He envisions offering Ambry technologies together with Konica Minolta's own High Sensitive Tissue Testing, which detects cancer by screening for proteins.
The company "will also consider further mergers and acquisitions" in fields including drug development support, Yamana said.
Growth prospects have dimmed for Konica Minolta's mainstay multifunction printer business as smartphones spread and the use of paper at offices continues to dwindle. Worldwide shipments of A3-paper laser copier-printers slipped about 2% from 2015 to 2016, according to market research firm IDC.
Konica Minolta has around 2 million clients. Yamana intends to also offer them services associated with the internet of things to weather the harsh business environment.