Olympus threatened with delisting

City A.M. Reporter
Tokyo's stock exchange warned scandal-hit Olympus Corp on Thursday it will be delisted after 62 years as a publicly traded company if it fails to report earnings by 14 December, another blow to the Japanese camera-maker's chances of survival.

Olympus said it was unlikely to issue its earnings by an earlier November 14 date, but it aimed to meet the later deadline.

The company admitted on Tuesday to a decades long cover-up of securities losses that is being investigated by authorities in Japan, Britain and the United States. Tokyo police will also look into the scandal, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Thursday.

The report said police had asked Olympus for internal accounting documents and it would question Olympus executives to determine if financial laws were violated.

The scandal has raised doubts about the outlook of the once-venerable maker of cameras and endoscopes, and experts said the firm's only future might lie in being taken over. But potential buyers would likely steer clear until the dust settles.

"Delisting does not mean it can't survive, or that it would definitely be forced to declare bankruptcy," said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, CEO of Investrust. "It has lost a lot of capital but its businesses still have high value.

"Potential investors can't consider buying out the businesses until all of the investigations are complete."

Olympus stunned investors on Tuesday by revealing it had used M&A deals to hide securities investment losses that the Nikkei newspaper said may have exceeded $1bn.

Olympus has to delay its 14 November earnings announcement because its external auditor, Ernst & Young ShinNihon, will not have the information needed to sign off on the accounts, sources with knowledge of the matter said.