Takehiro Kamigama and Klaus Ziegler of TDK-EPC talk integration

-April 22, 2010

TDK-EPC Corp, established in Japan in October 2009, combines TDK’s components business with Epcos, a manufacturer of electronic components, modules, and systems. The combined company has 36,000 employees in 50 production plants plus a network of R&D facilities and sales offices around the world. EDN conducted an e-mail interview with Takehiro Kamigama (photo, left), president and chief executive officer, and Klaus Ziegler (photo, right), chairman.

What products will the combined organizations offer?

(Kamigama) TDK is a manufacturer especially of commodity products, such as ceramic capacitors and inductive devices in the area of digital home appliances, IT equipment, and the automotive sector. Epcos provides tailor-made, customer-specific solutions based on components such as SAW (surface-acoustic-wave) filters, duplexers, RF modules, piezoelectric actuators, and aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors for telecommunications and automotive, industrial, and consumer electronics.

How will products from the combined organizations be branded?

(Kamigama) The new company is now responsible for the combined components business of TDK and Epcos and will market its products under the well-established and unchanged product brands TDK and Epcos.

What is the status of the integration process?

(Ziegler) The integration process is making good progress. The careful and simultaneously speedy continuation of the integration process is an indispensable prerequisite in being able to achieve our goals. Under their new corporate brand TDK-EPC, TDK and Epcos–outside Japan–still operate both product lines in parallel and process their businesses over the established sales channels. For the time being, order transactions, due to different processes and IT systems, also will be handled by the customer-service organizations of TDK or Epcos, respectively.

How will you handle sales?

(Ziegler) The next step of the operative sales combination of both companies will be the definition of only one local salesperson in each case responsible for the product lines of TDK and Epcos. Sales are among those activities where the degree of integration must be increased both fast and continuously but with great care. The objectives are clear-cut: Increase the efficiency and implementation of the one-face-to-the-customer principle.

What are the implications for your international customers?

(Ziegler) TDK has a very strong relationship with customers, especially in Japan and other countries in the Asian region. Epcos is very successful in its home market, Europe, but also complements TDK with a well-established presence in other countries, such as India and Brazil. Both partners have strong ties to leading North America-based customers. In all industries served and regional electronics markets, our combined business enjoys a stronger position than was the case previously for TDK and Epcos individually.

What technologies do TDK and Epcos bring to the organization?

(Kamigama) TDK has an impressive track record in materials technology, in particular with regard to the development of ferrite and dielectric materials, and that is vital in process technology for bringing electronic components from the lab to the product stage. Epcos, on the other hand, excels in RF and module technology and applications expertise, all of which are vital for developing electronic-components solutions for a broad spectrum of applications.

What are your future plans?

(Kamigama) Drawing on the synergies from these strengths, TDK-EPC aims not only to develop materials for a comprehensive range of electronic components, modules, and systems, but also to design device-manufacturing processes on the micron level and create the functions and form factors that are needed to make advanced end products a reality. TDK, for example, has accumulated expertise in thin-film-forming techniques for hard-disk-drive magnetic heads. This can be applied to further refine the range of SAW components and systems from Epcos. Conversely, the MEMS (microelectromechanical-systems) technology of Epcos is highly suited for TDK’s development of electronic components. Ultimately, customers stand to benefit. The use of these synergies will improve our joint competitiveness.

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