Olympus cuts 2,700 jobs

Olympus, the Japanese camera and endoscope maker, is cutting 7% of its workforce as it aims to make a 'fresh start.'

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

As Olympus attempts to recover from a year of scandal, catastrophic losses and allegations of fraud, the latest development is that 2,700 jobs will be cut to re-balance the books.

The cuts, which account for about 7% of its 40,000 workforce and will take place over the next two years, come as Olympus seeks to return to profit after sinking into the red last year with a loss of 48.99bn yen (£399.4m).    

Olympus, the camera maker and a leading seller of endoscopes, calculates it will earn a 7bn yen profit this year as it consolidates its global manufacturing base and trims staff costs.  

Olympus says it’s hoping to make a ‘fresh start.’ Along with its balance sheets, the Japanese company’s reputation has also taken a blow after a £1.1bn accounting fraud was uncovered by its former CEO Michael Woodford.

Olympus’ loss last year was mainly related to huge chunks of money paid to cover up losses dating back to the 1990s. This included a $687m fee-payment to financial advisers during the acquisition of UK medical equipment company Gyrus. Woodford uncovered the losses within two months of becoming the company’s first non-Japanese chief executive and was fired in October 2011.

Olympus also confirmed today that it had settled a £10m payout with Woodford, who took his former employer to an employment tribunal in east London last week.  Olympus shares closed at 1,297 yen in Asia – still half their worth than their 2,482 yen peak the day before Woodford was sacked.

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