Reuters announced on Wednesday that Olympus Corp might get support from the Japanese company Fujifilm Holdings. The equity alliance hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the endoscope maker would gladly accept the Japanese company’s help because the recent scandals have affected its finances.
Olympus has been depleted of its net assets by a $1.7 billion accounting fraud. Consequently, the company is now hoping to get support from its Japanese shareholders. The latter want to bring in an equity partner who can sell the entire company or some of its assets.
Olympus can attract numerous partners due to its flexible diagnostic endoscope business which amounts to 70 percent market share. This type of investment can help the lackluster Japanese electronics industry increase its profit. President Shigetaka Komori told Reuters that Fujifilm takes into consideration the possibility of supporting Olympus, but nothing has been decided yet.
Fujifilm’s President further stated that there are some particular aspects that might determine them to help the optics manufacturer. The synergies taking place in the endoscope field are very attractive to all companies that are interested in the medical business.
Media representatives and market analysts have wrongfully stated that Olympus is also considering a partnership with Sony Corp and Panasonic besides Fujifilm. Olympus’ president, Shuichi Takayama denied such rumors by saying that Olympus had not been in specific talks with any of those firms.
Fujifilm can trigger a review from Japan’s Fair Trade Commission if the company decides to invest in Olympus. The Japanese firm already owns 10 to 15 percent of the global diagnostic endoscope market, so the new partnership could lead to a Fujifilm monopoly.
Takayama, on the other hand, is determined to wait until the current management will be subject to a thorough inspection. Only after the overhaul will take place in late April, Olympus will consider bringing a potential strategic partner aboard.
The current Olympus board of directors is sued for mismanagement over the accounting fraud, but Takayama told reporters that the leadership will remain in office for another three months. The president justified the need to remain at the helm of the company by saying that Olympus needs continuity and he can offer it thanks to his connections with the company’s banks.