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Shares in Japanese office equipment giant Ricoh rose yesterday on the news it is to shed 10,000 jobs in a bid to boost profitability.

The cuts programme, which will prune back almost 10% of the workforce, will take place over the next three years to March 2014 and is expected to cost the company 60bn yen (£450m).

Ricoh has seen sales dip over the past few years, hobbled by the strong yen as well as, more recently, difficulties following the huge earthquake that struck Japan in March - the move is intended to improve its operating profit margin to 8.8% which had dropped to 3.3% last year.

Ricoh marketing director Chas Moloney said that the move was essentially "bringing forward plans we were looking at anyway" because of the earthquake and economic situation.

"It's part of our strategy to move towards becoming a services-oriented business," he said, adding that part of that strategy involved shifting 15,000 people into value-added segments of the business which includes production print.

The earthquake and tsunami that devastated the north eastern coast of Japan has left businesses reeling, with Ricoh expecting it to cost 9.4bn yen, although Moloney said that Ricoh's global supply base and policy of local supply means the company is resilient.

The company's UK plant in Telford manufactures the C901 and Ecoline devices, as well as mono office equipment, while Holland is home to Ricoh's pan-european warehouse. Moloney claimed the business has around 60-days' worth of inventory available to cover any gaps in supply, although did say that some of its Japanese suppliers "are not getting up to speed as fast as we'd like".

Ricoh stock was trading at 888 yen on the Tokyo stock exchange today, having closed up more than 4% on the news