Financial Filing Lets Olympus Avoid Removal From Tokyo Stock Exchange

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Olympus began manufacturing cameras in 1936 and today holds 75% of the global market for endoscopes.
Olympus began manufacturing cameras in 1936 and today holds 75% of the global market for endoscopes.

FINANCE

  • Olympus files 5 years of revised financial statements to avoid automatic removal from Tokyo Stock Exchange
  • Olympus being investigated for possibly hiding $1.5 billion over past 13 years
  • Future of Olympus unclear as it may need to sell assets or form merger to raise capital

Olympus Corp. filed five years of revised financial statements yesterday with Japan’s Financial Services Agency and avoided automatic removal from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In its statement, Olympus needed to prove its financial problems are limited to senior management and that there were no more revisions after losing $1.3 billion in net assets.

Olympus may had avoided removal from the stock exchange, but it is not in the clear. The 92-year-old optics company is being investigated by law enforcement officials in Japan for hiding $1.5 billion over the past 13 years. Officials from the United States and the United Kingdom are also conducting their own investigations.

Mix Reactions

Investors had mixed reactions to the news Olympus filed its financial statements. Some were relieved the company met its deadline, while others expressed concern over the optic giant’s future.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange will still keep Olympus on its watchlist and may delist it in the future.

Olympus began manufacturing cameras in 1936 and today holds 75% of the global market for endoscopes.

Future Unclear

In October, Olympus fired Chief Executive Officer Michael Woodford, who went public about unethical business deals. It was these allegations that sparked the criminal investigations.

The company's stock fell by 81%, decreasing the company’s market value by $7 billion.

Woodford would like to return to his old post and is hoping stockholders support him. Three of the larger foreign stockholders have already expressed their support.

Olympus’s board said it will resign but wants to pick its own successors and put a recovery plan in place. The company also plans to make changes to its management team. “The culture is a good one. We make wonderful products. We have strong people and the problem is isolated at the board. So change the board and the company can get behind the new management and start moving forward,” Woodford said in an internet broadcast.

If reinstated to his old position, Woodford, a Briton, would be the only foreigner on the board. Meanwhile, Olympus President Shuichi Takayama told Reuters the company may need to sell some of its assets or accept a merger in order to raise capital

Olympus’s debt is 14 times greater than its equity. Shareholders will need to vote on the new members of management. A date for voting has not been set and would occur in late winter at the earliest.

Olympus Buyout?

There have been many rumors the company will be purchased by a rival. According to gadget and technology magazine Slash Gear, Fujifilm has been named as a possible buyer for Olympus. Fujifilm CEO Shigetaka Komori told reporters he would not discuss Olympus before the fraud investigation is completed.

Key Statistics – Global Digital Camera Market

  • By 2015, the global market for digital cameras is predicted to reach over 138 million units. There is an increasing demand for digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. The largest area of growth is the Asia-Pacific region because of rising income levels are leading to more affluent consumers. (source: Global Industry Analysts)
  • Japanese companies account for 80% of the digital camera market. Most Japanese companies manufacture their high-end products locally while their medium and low-end products are manufactured in China or Southeast Asia. (source: Research in China)
  • China exported 109 million units of digital cameras in 2010 for a total of $7 billion, making it the world’s largest camera producer. (source: Research in China)

By Melina Druga for
Melina Druga is an American writer and editor. She is the author of Enterprising Women: Practical Advice for First Time Entrepreneurs.

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