Scandal helps send Olympus net losses to near ¥49 billion

JIJI

Scandal-hit optical equipment maker Olympus Corp. said Thursday it posted a bigger-than-expected consolidated net loss for the year to March.

The net loss stood at ¥48.985 billion, against a projected loss of ¥32 billion and a profit of ¥3.866 billion recorded in the previous year.

The weaker-than-expected result stems from additional special losses the company booked to liquidate three companies that it used to conceal massive investment losses incurred in the past, officials said.

Sales edged up 0.2 percent from the previous year to ¥848.548 billion.

The imaging division, including digital cameras, performed poorly due to the negative effects of the Thai floods, while its key medical equipment operations were stable thanks to strong demand for endoscopes.

Operating profit dropped 7.5 percent to ¥35.518 billion.

The equity ratio stood at 4.6 percent, down from 4.4 percent at the end of last year. President Hiroyuki Sasa said the result was “extremely disappointing.”

Olympus will devise measures to improve its financial health in a medium-term business plan to be announced before a general meeting of shareholders in late June.

Medical products maker Terumo Corp. denied speculation that it may buy new shares Olympus may issue to strengthen its capital base.