Air Conditioning Brands - Hitachi
Hitachi was founded in 1910 by electrical engineer Namihei Odaira in Ibaraki Prefecture. The company’s first product was Japan’s first 4-kilowatt (5 hp) induction motor, initially developed for use in copper mining.
The company began as an in-house venture of Fusanosuke Kuhara’s mining company in Hitachi, Ibaraki. Odaira moved headquarters to Tokyo in 1918. Odaira coined the company’s toponymic name by superimposing two kanji characters: hi meaning “sun” and tachi meaning “rise”.
World War II had a significant impact on the company with many of its factories being destroyed by Allied bombing raids, and discord after the war. Founder Odaira was removed from the company and Hitachi Zosen Corporation was spun out. Hitachi’s reconstruction efforts after the war were hindered by a labor strike in 1950. Meanwhile, Hitachi went public in 1949.
Hitachi America, Ltd. was established in 1959. Hitachi Europe, Ltd. was established in 1982.
From 2006 to 2010, Hitachi lost US$12.5 billion, the largest corporate loss in Japanese history. This prompted Hitachi to restructure and sell a number of divisions and businesses, a process that is expected to finish in 2021.
In March 2011, Hitachi agreed to sell its hard disk drive subsidiary, HGST, to Western Digital for a combination of cash and shares worth US$4.3 billion. Due to concerns of a duopoly of WD and Seagate Technology by the EU Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, Hitachi’s 3.5″ HDD division was sold to Toshiba. The transaction was completed in March 2012.
In January 2012, Hitachi announced it would stop producing televisions in Japan. In September 2012, Hitachi announced that it had invented a long-term data solution out of quartz glass that was capable of preserving information for millions of years. In October 2012, Hitachi agreed to acquire the United Kingdom-based nuclear energy company Horizon Nuclear Power, which plans to construct up to six nuclear power plants in the UK, from E.ON and RWE for £700 million. In November 2012, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries agreed to merge their thermal power generation businesses into a joint venture to be owned 65% by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 35% by Hitachi. The joint venture began operations in February 2014.
In October 2015, Hitachi completed a deal with Johnson Controls to form a joint-venture that would takeover Hitachi’s HVAC business. Hitachi maintained a 40% stake of the resulting company, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning. In May 2016, Hitachi announced it was investing $2.8 billion into its IoT interests.
Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 and the extended temporary closure of most Japanese nuclear plants, Hitachi’s nuclear business became unprofitable and in 2016 Hitachi CEO Toshiaki Higashihara argued Japan should consider a merger of the various competing nuclear businesses. Hitachi is taking for 2016 an estimated ¥65 billion write-off in value of a SILEX technology laser uranium enrichment joint venture with General Electric.
In February 2017, Hitachi and Honda announced a partnership to develop, produce and sell motors for electric vehicles. On March 14, 2018, Zoomdata announced its partnership with Hitachi INS Software to help develop big data analytics market in Japan.
In December 2018, Hitachi Ltd. announced it would take over ABB Ltd.’s power grid division for $6.4 billion. Also in 2017, private equity firm KKR bought Hitachi Kokusai’s (itself a subsidiary of Hitachi) semiconductor equipment division, becoming Kokusai Electric. In 2019, Applied Materials announced that it would acquire Kokusai Electric from KKR for US$2.2 billion.
From 2008 to 2018, Hitachi has reduced the number of its listed group companies and consolidated subdiaries in Japan from 22 to 4 and around 400 to 202, respectively, through restructuring and sell-offs. It plans to become a company specializing in IT and infrastructure maintenance in the near future.
In 2019, Hitachi sold its medical imaging business to Fujifilm for US$1.7 billion. Showa Denko bought Hitachi Chemical from Hitachi and other shareholders, at US$42.97 per share. Until then, Hitachi Chemical had been considered to be a core unit of the group. Hitachi also suspended the ABWR development by its British subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power as it did not provide an adequate “economic rationality as a private enterprise” to proceed.
In October 2019, Honda was reported to be in talks with Hitachi to merge the two companies’ car parts businesses, creating a components supplier with almost $17 billion in annual sales, the second largest among the Japanese car parts companies. Hitachi retained the control of the new company with a 67 percent stake.
In September 2020, Hitachi pulled the plug on plans to create nuclear power plants in Gloucestershire and Wales due to issues with funding due to the impact of COVID-19.
In November 2020, it announced that Hitachi Metal and Hitachi Construction Machinery will be detached from the group by unloading of its stakes.