February 6, 2018 / 7:21 AM / 6 months ago

Japan's Oji to buy 33 percent of Mitsubishi Paper to battle digital shift

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Oji Holdings Corp on Tuesday said it has agreed to buy 33 percent of peer Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd as the pair seek to drive down costs in the face of competition from Asian rivals and consumers’ shift to digital media.

Oji will buy newly issued shares in Mitsubishi at 726 yen each for a total of around 7.6 billion yen ($69.68 million), the companies said in a joint statement. Mitsubishi Paper shares closed on Tuesday at 719 yen.

They said they plan to cut costs by cooperating on logistics and sharing raw materials purchases.

Domestic demand for printing paper has fallen 30 percent from a decade ago due to a shift to digital media, while competition from Asian rivals was also threatening Japanese paper manufacturers, they said.

“In this environment, Oji Holdings and Mitsubishi Paper Mills cannot continue stable operations or growth if they stay on the current management strategy track,” they said.

Reporting by Ritsuko AndoEditing by Christopher Cushing

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