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BBC World Service

Olympus escapes delisting on stock exchange… For now

Roland Buerk Dec 14, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: The Japanese camera maker Olympus today submitted revised earnings reports, a few months after an alleged fraud dating back 20 years came to light.

The BBC’s Roland Buerk is with us now from Tokyo with the latest on that story. Hey Roland.

Roland Buerk: Good morning.

Chiotakis: We’ve finally gotten a clear picture of the actual financial health of Olympus. How’s the company doing?

Buerk: Considering it’s admitted hiding investment losses — $1.5 billion dating back decades — better than you might think. What it’s had to do is refile its results from the last five years. It’s showing that at no point were its liabilities bigger than its assets — it was never technically insolvent.

It has made a loss in the first half of this year at $414 million, but nothing like as bad as it could have been. And by filing these results by today, the company has avoided automatic delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Chiotakis: I wanna talk about that, Roland, because there have been threats to do that. What would it mean for the company if that eventually did happen?

Buerk: Well it could still happen. The Tokyo Stock Exchange is now looking at the numbers and thinking about the scale of the deception. If it did happen, it would cut Olympus off from the markets, cut it away from the possibility of easily raising more capital.

That could see Olympus having to sell off core assets — it’s a camera maker and a big force in endoscopes, in medical endoscopes. And that could, perhaps, spell the end of the company. So, today, Olympus dodged a bullet, but it’s not out of the woods yet.

Chiotakis: The BBC’s Roland Buerk in Tokyo. Roland, thank you.

Buerk: Thank you.

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