Olympus Submits Revised Earning Reports

Posted December 14th, 2011 at 4:55 am (UTC-5)
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Disgraced Japanese electronics manufacturer Olympus filed revised earning reports on Wednesday, meeting a deadline to avoid being removed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The maker of cameras and medical equipment handed in five years worth of corrected statements just hours before the deadline expired.

The company showed $414 million in losses for the first half of the fiscal year, through September. It also reported a net profit of $48 million dollars in the same period last year.

Olympus still risks being delisted pending the results of an investigation of the company’s accounting scandal.

The revised earning statements disclose some of the $1.5 billion in losses on securities investments, dating back to the 1990s, that a small circle of senior officials tried to cover up. Former CEO Michael Woodford exposed the company’s accounting problems in October and was fired.

Woodford was in Tokyo on Wednesday for a meeting with investors and legislators. The 51-year-old Briton is appealing to shareholders to reinstate him as part of a complete renewal of the board.

“The company is in a vulnerable position particularly with people litigating because of what’s going on in the organization and if there was a smooth transition to a new board I am prepared to lead then those risks of litigation by the shareholders in particular will be reduced.”

Olympus originally denied wrongdoing in the case, but then acknowledged massive losses were in part through a $2 billion purchase of a British medical equipment maker in 2008. The purchase price included a $687 million advisory fee, which was far above the usual fee paid for such a deal.

The board has committed to resigning amid the scandal but wants to choose its successors. Woodford urged the board to step down on Wednesday.

“”I want to try to avoid a proxy fight, that would be distracting, that would be unhelpful.”

The 92-year-old company is still under investigation by Japanese police and public prosecutors, who may bring criminal charges against senior officials. But Woodford expressed optimism about the company’s future.

“I think the damage which is being done can be repaired. And if it’s done in the right way, and the prosecutor and the Tokyo Metropolitan police show to the world that the thing is being dealt with, I think ironically, good could come out of it. Real good.”

A committee investigating Olympus released a report earlier this month putting the blame on what the panel calls the company’s “rotten” top management and “contaminated” senior executives.

The committee praised Woodford, and identified former vice president Hisashi Mori and ex-internal auditor Hideo Yamada as central figures behind the scheme. Both have since resigned.

The chair of the panel, Tatsuo Kainaka, said other board members were aware of the scheme, but he said the company as a whole did not participate in the cover-up.