Troubled Olympus set to cut 2,500 jobs and sell off a stake

Japan's scandal-hit cameras and equipment firm Olympus gave more evidence it is struggling yesterday as it signalled plans to axe 2500 staff and sell a stake to Sony or Panasonic.

Olympus, whose former chief executive Michael Woodford blew the whistle on a £1bn-plus fraud last year, admitted it needed to bolster its finances. Mr Woodford this week won a £10m out-of-court settlement over his dismissal.

About 7 per cent of the global workforce is facing the chop, mainly in its loss-making cameras division. Olympus is pinning its hopes for recovery on its market-leading global position in medical diagnostic endoscopes. The group is expected to unveil its restructuring on 8 June. The electronics giants Sony and Panasonic are reportedly the leading contenders for a stake, with talk they would pay several hundred million pounds for 10 per cent .

Sony and Panasonic played down the speculation that they are interested. Japan, which is not used to a culture of brutal job cuts, is facing a wave of corporate strife. Big companies are looking to cut costs amid weak global demand.

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