Olympus backtracks, CEO suggests camera business could be for sale

Embattled camera manufacturer also facing job cuts

Olympus camera rumours 2016

Olympus could be poised to make redundancies and put its camera business up for sale, the company’s CEO has told the press.

The announcement comes just days after the company issued a statement disputing rumours that it could close down its imaging business within eight months.

Bloomberg reports that Olympus CEO Yasuo Takeuchi told press in Tokyo today: “The issue of personnel will naturally need to be addressed… It’s a strategy to improve performance, and something that will come about in due course.”

The moves would be part of a plan by Olympus to double its operating margin in the medium term. Bloomberg adds:

The manufacturer of cameras and endoscopes has been implementing restructuring measures since U.S. hedge fund ValueAct Capital Management, which owns 5% of Olympus, added two directors to the board earlier this year. The move was viewed as a rare victory for activist investors in a market historically resistant to investor demands. Investor sentiment has been high, with the shares doubling this year.

Takeuchi also backtracked on some of his comments in the past that the camera business was not for sale, saying that may not be the case anymore. The imaging unit, which makes up 6% of sales, is the lowest margin and lowest growth businesses in Olympus’s portfolio, according to past company presentations. Olympus is working to stabilize the imaging business by focusing on its main markets, a spokeswoman said.

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