Fujifilm wants to partner with Olympus endoscopy in medical device field

Fujifilm Holdings Corp. proposed a partnership Monday with Olympus Corp., the camera and endoscope maker that lost more than half of its market value last year amid an accounting scandal.

Fujifilm, which makes imaging equipment and digital cameras, may invest in Olympus and exchange executives with the Tokyo-based company after making a proposal to adviser Nikko SMBC Securities Inc., Shigehiro Nakajima, Fujifilm executive vice president, told a Tokyo news conference.

Olympus, because of its medical business, would be a good fit for Fujifilm, which has been seeking expansion in the health care industry, he said. Fujifilm bought two units of Merck & Co. about a year ago and has completed 21 acquisitions in the past five years, including a ¥125 billion deal to gain control of Toyama Chemical Co.

“We’re the best partner for Olympus,” given there are benefits for both parties, Nakajima said.

Olympus President Shuichi Takayama in early January said he will consider all options to restore capital after slashing net assets 70 percent following revelations that the company had falsified accounts to hide investment losses for more than a decade. Selling preferred shares convertible into equity may let the company raise funds at the same time as sidestepping objections from investors to a sale of common stock.

Katsunori Nagayasu, chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association, said in December that lenders will continue to support Olympus. Nagayasu is also president of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest publicly traded bank and one of the main lenders to Olympus. (…read more)

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