by Ian Burley
Olympus to consolidate and dig itself out of its financial hole
After Panasonic yesterday denied that it was to make a major strategic investment in Olympus, it has been confirmed that Olympus will seek to revive its fortunes after last year's financial scandal without necessarily seeking investment from a rival company. Instead, the company will seek additional investment from existing shareholders. However, there is still a possibility that, for example, Fujifilm, could still acquire a stake in the company to gain access to the lucrative medical imaging market that Olympus dominates.
Although Olympus made a loss of nearly 500 billion yen ($400 million) in the recently reported financial year, the company says it aims to make a 7 billion yen profit in the current financial year and to normalise its shareholder equity to assets ratio within 2 years.
In a financial recovery plan that Olympus calls Back to Basics, 2,700 jobs, about 7% of the company's 40,000 global work force, will be shed over the next two years and it is expected that some manufacturing sites will be closed.
Olympus also hints that the company will increase investment in its mirrorless system camera products, as well as higher value compact digital cameras, with less emphasis on low margin budget digital cameras. Olympus Pen and most recently, OM-D, Micro Four Thirds mirrorless system cameras have been received well and sold well in Japan and Asian markets, especially. Sales in Europe and the US have not been as successful, partially because these markets have maintained a stronger DSLR presence.