Omron Corp. announced May 19 that it will start a stock-option program next April for its 30 directors, following last week’s enactment of a law legalizing such incentives.

Omron President Yoshio Tateishi said the firm hopes to extend the program to all of its employees in the future as an incentive for workers to boost corporate profits. The volume of shares to be offered through the program and the specific means to obtain the stocks have yet to be decided, the firm’s officials said.

Omron announced the same day that its consolidated sales for the 1996 business year rose 13.1 percent from the previous year to 594.26 billion yen, increasing for three consecutive years. Its consolidated pretax profits has risen for four years in a row, amounting to 39.248 billion yen in the 1996 business year.

Tateishi said Omron will work on reducing the number of its shares held by financial institutions from more than 35 percent to around 30 percent in three to five years, noting the firm attaches importance to keeping its management in line with international standards. He said Omron’s overseas investors criticize the Japanese system of cross-shareholding, especially considering that financial institutions make up the top 10 of Omron’s shareholders. Omron also announced that the president’s youngest brother, Fumio Tateishi, is expected to join the board of directors next month, which means all four living sons of founder Kazuma Tateishi will be directors.

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