Olympus expected to release earnings on deadline

14th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Scandal-hit Olympus was expected to release its overdue earnings statement on Wednesday, as the camera and medical equipment maker raced to meet a deadline or risk being axed from Tokyo's stock exchange.

The company, which has been embroiled in a loss cover-up scandal, has said it was aiming to meet the deadline amid reports that its auditors were nervous about signing off on the embattled company's accounts.

Olympus can be chopped from Tokyo's bourse if its fails to give an update on the state of its balance sheet. The company has already said it would correct the past five years of earnings.

On Tuesday, the company's ousted chief Michael Woodford was due to return to Japan to meet with shareholders and lawmakers to discuss Japan's corporate governance, which has suffered a severe bruising after the firm's admission that it orchestrated a massive scam to conceal losses for more than a decade.

Woodford, the first ever non-Japanese president and chief executive of Olympus, was stripped of his executive posts after he alleged the 92-year-old firm had overpaid in acquisition deals and raised concerns over serious governance problems.

Shares in the company, which is facing several legal and regulatory investigations as well as a class-action lawsuit filed by a US investor, are worth a little over half their value before Woodford's ouster.

Last week, a committee of outside lawyers and an accountant -- all chosen by Olympus -- concluded that former company president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and his predecessor Masatoshi Kishimoto approved the cover-up scheme.

The stinging report described top management as "rotten" and "contaminated", saying they hid at least 134.9 billion yen ($1.73 billion) in losses.

After the report, current president Shuichi Takayama said the firm's executives would be replaced "at an appropriate time... after they pave a way forward to rebuild the company".

© 2011 AFP

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