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Deal represents security for Danka workers

Danka will still be part of its name, but the St. Petersburg-based office equipment company has a new owner, a new product line and a new opportunity to reverse its flagging fortunes.

"We're very excited about the prospects for the future, especially the addition of Danka as a growth engine for this company," said Rick Taylor, chief operating officer of Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA, Danka's new corporate parent. The company is part of the Japanese Konica Minolta Holdings.

The new Konica Minolta Danka Imaging will maintain its headquarters in St. Petersburg, where about 255 of its 2,000 employees work.

"This opportunity allows them upward mobility from a career standpoint and a secure future for the first time in a long time," said Bill Troxil, a 15-year Danka employee who is the new president and chief operating officer of the subsidiary.

Employees are being trained to sell the Konica Minolta product line. They'll no longer sell competing brands, but will continue to service the equipment.

Ikuo "Indiana" Nakagawa is the new chairman and chief executive. The previous CEO, A.D. Frazier, left the company last week along with chief financial officer Edward Quibell.

The $240-million deal was completed Friday when long-suffering shareholders of former parent Danka Business Systems PLC gave their approval. However, shareholders rejected a second proposal to liquidate the parent company.

London-based Danka Business Systems PLC said it will "assess what alternatives may be available to distribute the proceeds" from the sale. A shareholder lawsuit is pending.

Danka was once a $3-billion company, but could never recover from a critical error of buying Eastman Kodak's analog copier business just when the industry was switching to digital. Danka reported $20-million in losses on $319.7-million in revenue for the nine months ending Dec. 31.

Helen Huntley can be reached at hhuntley@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8230.

Deal represents security for Danka workers 07/01/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:12pm]
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