Former chief Woodford attacks Olympus financing plan

Olympus' former chief executive Michael Woodford yesterday dismissed as "desperate" reports that the board which ousted him is now considering tapping rival firms such as Sony and Fujifilm to raise as much as $1.3bn (£830m) in new capital.

The Nikkei business newspaper reported the plan to boost the company's depleted finances with new investors, possibly by issuing preference shares.

Olympus shares leaped on the news, although critics argued it could merely serve to dilute existing shareholders wanting to reinstate Mr Woodford.

The 51-year-old Briton is creating a proposed board to put to a shareholder vote early next year.

Mr Woodford said he was encouraged by the Nikkei report. "This just illustrates the desperation of the company and thus strengthens my case," he added. "While I agree the balance sheet should be strengthened, there are better ways than this," he said, suggestingdisposals, a rights issue or private equity investment.