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Spokesman: Hitachi not selling disk drive division

By Jeff Kiger

jkiger@postbulletin.com

A Hitachi spokeswoman says there is no truth to news stories reporting that the company is considering selling off its disk drive business, which includes a large facility in Rochester.

"The fact of the matter is Hitachi officials’ position at this time is that Hitachi Ltd. is focused on improving the performance of the Hitachi disk drive business," said Kim Nguyen, senior manager of corporate communications for Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

IBM sold its hard disk drive unit to Hitachi in 2003 for $2.05 billion. That sale spawned the formation of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which oversees the drive business.

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Since that sale, Hitachi has not posted a profit from the disk drive operation.

Speculation about the company selling all or part of the disk drive operation flared up this week after Reuters news service released a story saying Hitachi is considering selling to help turn the unprofitable business around. The story cited the information to unnamed sources "close to the matter."

"The Reuters article doesn’t have any attribution from Hitachi, so it is an unofficial story as far as we are concerned," said Nguyen.

The news story reported investment bank Merrill Lynch has been in talks with private equity funds that may be interested in the unit.

Beside completely denying the possibility of a sale, she said the company is committed to improving the disk drive operation.

"We’re exploring every possibility to improve the hard disk drive business," Nguyen said. "The only position we have right now is that we’re working on the profitability issues we’ve had with the Hitachi hard disk drive business."

The Rochester facility has about 200 employees, she confirmed. Many of those employees worked for IBM prior to the 2003 sale.

Hitachi has 11 facilities throughout the world, including the Rochester plant.

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