Nikon restructuring causes casualties to bottom line, camera line and production line

Nikon’s process of restructuring in the face of challenges to the digital imaging space has proven more costly than expected in more ways than one. A rough year means the company will not only miss profit expectations, but will have to buy out a thousand employees and end its DL line of compact cameras.

The company described the costs of the restructuring (announced in November) as an “extraordinary loss” — meaning abnormal, not eye-popping, though it is both. The writedowns total nearly ¥30 billion, or around $264 million.

The workers Nikon is asking to retire early (with a bonus) will come largely from a semiconductor lithography plant northwest of Tokyo, the Nikkei reported. That side of the business has been struggling for years, so it’s not entirely unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for those affected. Expenses related to this process, totaling another ¥16.7 billion, will be recorded as a second “extraordinary loss” later this year.

The other loss is the DL series, Nikon’s latest attempt to compete in the popular luxury compact category dominated by Sony’s RX100. The last DL was announced early last year.

Nikon is best known for its cameras, but smartphones have devastated the space and the company is among many like it hoping to salvage profits by focusing on more specialized devices and components.