Olympus’ ¥32 billion loss tops estimates

Bloomberg

Olympus Corp., the camera maker that admitted committing accounting fraud and lost 59 percent of its value last year, predicted an annual loss of ¥32 billion — worse than analysts’ estimates.

The fraud scandal, which broke in October, had no major impact on business, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement Monday. Analysts from Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank Group estimated a ¥25.5 billion average loss.

The world’s biggest maker of endoscopes plans a special shareholder meeting on April 20 for investors to vote on new management. Any decision on a strategic alliance will be determined by the next board, President Shuichi Takayama said last month.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange last month allowed Olympus to keep its stock market listing by fining the company ¥10 million ($130,000) and telling it to submit reports on efforts to improve management. The exchange put Olympus on its watchlist last year after the firm admitted to inflating fees to advisers on the $2.1 billion acquisition of London-listed Gyrus Group PLC in 2008 and overpaying for three Japanese companies.

Olympus still faces criminal probes and shareholder lawsuits against executives, including Takayama, even after purging executives, including ex-Chairman and President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, who were believed involved in the 13-year loss coverup.

The 92-year-old company has been reeling since Michael C. Woodford disclosed inflated takeover costs after he was fired as chief executive officer on Oct. 14. The allegations forced the company to reveal a $1.7 billion scheme to conceal soured investments dating back to the 1990s that raised concerns among investors and lawmakers over the nation’s corporate governance rules.

Operating profit will probably decline 6.2 percent to ¥36 billion, while revenue may increase 0.8 percent to ¥854 billion. Although the revenue forecast matched estimates, the operating profit forecast missed the average estimate of ¥41 billion.

Olympus closed 0.4 percent higher at ¥1,282 in Tokyo trading. The stock is down 48 percent since Woodford’s dismissal.

Fujifilm Holdings Corp., a camera maker with ambitions to expand in the health care business, proposed a partnership and investment in Olympus, while Terumo Corp., the top supplier of Olympus and the firm’s 10th-largest shareholder, is considering ways to strengthen the partnership with the endoscope maker, the two companies said last month.