Scandal-hit Olympus looks at tie-ups as losses loom

The Japanese camera and medical equipment maker Olympus said today it expected to have lost ¥32bn (£260m) in the year which ends next month.

The group, which sacked its British chief executive Michael Woodford late last year after he exposed a $1.7bn (£1bn) accounting scandal, is looking at potential corporate tie-ups with rivals such as Sony, Fujitsu and Samsung.

But Olympus's president Shuichi Takayama said yesterday that the company was not in concrete talks on deals and that any such steps must wait until the installation of new management after its annual shareholders' meeting in April. The group blamed its ailing camera division for the losses, and analysts said its core endoscope manufacturing business remained strongly profitable. This is the business which rivals are most keen to acquire.

Olympus fired Mr Woodford last October when he raised questions over dubious book-keeping at the company.

Olympus later admitted that it had used improper accounting to conceal massive investment losses under a scheme that began in the 1990s.

It remains under investigation by law enforcement agencies in Japan, Britain and the US.