Japanese electronics giant Hitachi ( HIT) is looking to shave more than $5 billion off its costs through a major corporate restructuring, and has also announced its latest management reshuffle. Hitachi, which recently posted a massive third-quarter loss, will now spin off its automotive systems and consumer business groups in an attempt to rein in its costs. The move aims to slash its fixed costs by approximately 200 billion yen ($2 billion) and procurement costs by approximately 300 billion yen ($3.1 billion) for fiscal 2009. The two business groups will be spun off July 1 and set up as new companies, according to Hitachi, which also outlined plans to consolidate some of its manufacturing plants. "Hitachi is executing business- and cost-structure reforms in order to create a robust operating structure that will be able to steadily generate earnings and raise profitability in the future," the company said, in a statement. Among a slew of management changes, the firm also announced the appointment of Hitachi director Takashi Kawamura as its chairman, president and CEO, effective April 1. Kawamura takes over from Kazuo Furukawa, who now becomes the company's vice-chairman. Hitachi, which has been battered by the global economic downturn, recently announced that it expects its worst-ever full-year loss of $7.8 billion for the fiscal year through March, a stark contrast to the $16.9 billion profit it forecast in October. In a separate statement, Hitachi confirmed that it will not pay a dividend for fiscal 2008, underlining the challenges it faces in a tough economy.
Hitachi (NYSE:HIT) hit a new 52-week high Tuesday as it is currently trading at $63.44, above its previous 52-week high of $63.17 with 8,582 shares traded as of 9:35 a.m. ET. Average volume has been 60,800 shares over the past 30 days.