by Ian Burley
Olympus avoids stock market de-listing for now
It's been a huge day for Olympus Corp. The disgraced company managed to meet a stock market deadline to file revised accounts for the last five years and so, for the moment, avoid being de-listed. But the company is not out of the woods yet. Over a billion dollars of additional losses have appeared in the revised accounts and the company's assets to debt ratio is a worrying 1:14. The company desperately needs to re-capitalise and could be forced to sell assets or merge with competitors, or even endure a hostile take-over with prospect of being asset-stripped. None of these options would be good for the struggling camera division.
Ousted president and CEO, Michael Woodford, is seeking to muster a bid to return to the helm of the company with the support of key investors. Woodford has publicly declared that his aim is to recapitalise the business without breaking it up and he made it crystal clear that if he was successful in his bid he would not dispose of the camera business.
Woodford has the backing of some outspoken Olympus investors, but most of them are outside of Japan. The enthusiasm for Woodford's return seems to be non-existent in Japan, even among ordinary Olympus employees there. The existing board will shortly resign en-masse, but they are also working to engineer their replacements and Woodford is not part of the their plans.
In the end it will be down to Olympus' investors to decide on who will replace the current board. The battle is far from over yet.