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To cut costs, Olympus may expand common digital camera parts with Sony

JIJI

Olympus Corp. President Hiroyuki Sasa has said that the optical equipment maker will consider expanding the use of common parts of digital cameras with its top shareholder, Sony Corp., to cut costs in the loss-making business area.

Sasa showed the plan in a recent interview. Olympus currently procures image sensors, a key image-processing component of digital cameras, from Sony.

Olympus has been scaling back its digital camera operations by halving production of compact models and deciding to cease the development of new single-lens reflex cameras.

The company’s imaging devices division, which handles digital cameras, suffered an operating loss of ¥23.1 billion in the year that ended in March.

Sasa said that the digital camera business “is unlikely to post major growth.” How to reduce the loss is a major challenge for the firm, he said, adding that sharing image sensors and other high-priced components with Sony is “a key issue that needs to be studied.”

Meanwhile, Sasa said that Olympus will keep actively investing in its medical equipment business, which continues to be robust, thus showing the firm’s intention to boost sales of endoscopes, one of its key products in the area, in emerging markets.

Olympus will focus on Southeast Asia.

Suit with Terumo

Olympus Corp. said it has agreed to pay ¥6 billion to settle a damages suit filed by Terumo Corp. over losses related to an accounting scandal involving the optical equipment maker.

Terumo, a medical equipment maker, was seeking some ¥6.6 billion in damages to cover a substantial fall in the value of its holdings of Olympus shares following the revelation of the loss coverup. The suit was filed with the Tokyo District Court in July last year.

Olympus shares dived after its huge investment losses came to light in 2011.

In September, Olympus settled a damages suit filed in the United States by U.S. shareholders.