Friday, July 1, 2011

Ricoh buying Pentax is another take-over, which may increase sales, but some people will find themselves out of a job because of it.





Hi Pentaxian friends.

The purchase of Pentax by Ricoh, just a few years after Hoya acquired them, reminds me of my own career demise back in 2001. Why would you care about my career? You don’t have to care about my career at all, but there is a lesson learned here, that I would like to share. Here’s my little insignificant story (given that I’m only one person among seven plus billions of people on our small planet) :

I worked all of my adult life as a mechanical engineer, slowly advancing in my career from Design Engineer to Project Manager for hundreds of million dollars projects. During the last ten years of my employment, I worked for five Companies, without ever having to move to a new office. The original Company had been started by two brothers, seventy years before. With hard work and dedication, they had turned a small Company of less than ten workers to a great Company of five thousand employees. We specialized in Engineering and Construction of Pulp and Paper plants, Chemical plants, Refineries and other types of industrial complexes.

So...ten years prior to my career ending, the Company was purchased by another Giant Engineering and Construction Company because they wanted the expertise of our Pulp and Paper division. Money always talks and soon after the acquisition, new “Golden Boys” from the new owner started replacing our management. Some of the industries we were serving were dropped and hundreds of long time employees lost their jobs. The Company changed hands five times during the following ten years, laying off employees and downsizing the company further each time. Finally, “Raytheon” (a monster size Corporation for people that don’t know who they are) purchased us. Our Company had climbed back to a viable size by then, although we were serving completely different clients than when the company was originally founded.

As history tends to repeats itself, Raytheon bought us for a specific area of our expertise, for the location we were operating at, and primarily because we were a competitor in some areas of our work. After warm welcomes from their management and promises of a better future, the cycle started repeating itself but this time around, they completely brought us to extinction. For them, although we were bought for about one hundred million dollars, we were just a dangling leaf at the end of a tree branch. They eliminated the small competition we were to them, got a great tax break and put several thousand employees out of a job.

It is obvious now, that Hoya bough Pentax for their medical endoscope optics and perhaps other branches of the company, but didn’t want the imaging department. They did bring Pentax Imaging up, but maybe with the  purpose in mind of getting the division somewhat profitable, or promising enough to resell it.

Now we might see Ricoh-Pentax on the next generation of cameras, for a  while, anyway, then maybe just Ricoh  and there are good chances that current Pentax employees will be replaced by Ricoh’s Golden Boys. After all, Ricoh has a Digital Imaging department.

“My Opinion Only” My take on all of this changing hand is that Corporations are killing businesses all over this globe, and we let them, (We the governments, not We the people). It’s the big fish eating the little fish. We let them get so big that  governments cannot let them fail and wind up bailing them out…with our money, the money of the little people...us.

It would really be shameful if a pioneer name like “Pentax” would disappear. Hopefully, in the end, this last acquisition will be a better fit than the Hoya venture. Hope this will not be another Konica-Minolta.

Thank you for reading,  

Yvon Bourque
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