Fujifilm lobs lifeline to fellow Japanese company Olympus

CAMERA maker Fujifilm has offered the hand of partnership to Olympus, which is still reeling from the exposure of its $1.7bn fraud, citing similar operations in their medical equipment divisions.

Since ex-chief executive Michael Woodford blew the whistle on Olympus’ accounts cover-up, the Japanese company has been reportedly seeking a corporate alliance, seeing an equity partner as more desirable than a buyout.

Fujifilm executive vice president Shigehiro Nakajima said: “We consider ourselves the best partner for a business tie-up that would allow for maintaining global competitiveness.”

A decision from Olympus is not expected until a new board is selected by shareholders in April.

Fujifilm profits were down by over 50 per cent in the third quarter, from 18.1bn yen (£151m) to 8.8bn yen.

Sales in the period dropped three per cent to 451.25bn yen, leading the company to cut its full-year forecast to a profit of 28bn yen.

Rival Japanese camera company Canon yesterday revealed a 14 per cent increased operating profit of 94.6bn yen in the fourth quarter, although operating profits for the year were down three per cent to 378.1bn yen.

Canon president Tuneji Uchida, 70, will step down in March to be replaced by 76 year old current chairman and chief executive Fujio Mitarai.