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Canon to Combine $1 Billion Oce Purchase After Delay

Canon Inc., the world’s largest camera maker, will start combining Dutch printer maker Oce NV with its own business after the acquisition was delayed by two years, according to the new head of its European division.

Canon’s $1 billion takeover of Oce, its largest ever purchase, was held up after the company failed to gain outstanding shares. Tokyo-based Canon finally acquired the remaining 10 percent stake from Orbis Funds at the end of last year, said Rokus van Iperen.

“We had a delay of two years in terms of integration,” he said today in a telephone interview. Canon today named Van Iperen as new chief executive officer for its business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, taking over from Ryoichi Bamba, who is retiring. Van Iperen is the the first non-Japanese executive to lead Canon’s business in Europe.

Europe’s debt crisis and a stronger yen, which cuts the repatriated value of overseas earnings for Japanese exporters, has dampened Canon’s outlook. The company will maintain Oce’s manufacturing base in the Netherlands, as it seeks to move more factories outside Japan. The strategy serves as a “natural hedge to compensate for currency fluctuations,” van Iperen said.

The company will combine Oce’s sales and marketing units with its own business, the executive said today. While no decision has been yet made on headcount, “there’s limited overlap in personnel,” he said.

Canon in Nov. 2009 agreed to pay 8.60 euros a share for Venlo, Netherlands-based Oce. In January, Canon said it had offered 9.75 euros a share to buy outstanding shares.

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