Olympus to raise up to S$1.5 billion in stock offering

TOKYO, July 08, 2013 (AFP) - Japan's scandal hit Olympus said Monday it planned to raise up to 118 billion yen (S$1.5 billion) through a public stock offering in a bid to strengthen its medical equipment businesses.

The camera and medical equipment maker said it would issue up to 37 million new shares to overseas investors, while separately selling four million of its own shares it holds as treasury stocks, also to overseas investors.

A fixed offering price will be decided July 18-22.

"The company intends to use the net proceeds to further its growth strategies... which focus on the further strengthening of its medical business and rebuilding its financial health," Olympus said in a statement.

Olympus swung to an annual net profit for the year to March as it looks to rebuild itself after a scandal which last week saw three former executives given suspended prison sentences.

The company's reputation, and Japan's corporate governance image, was badly damaged after its British former chief executive blew the whistle in 2011 on a scam that saw US$1.7 billion (S$ 2.1 billion) worth of losses moved off its balance sheet.

The firm has undergone a major overhaul that included cutting about seven per cent of its workforce and striking a capital alliance with electronics giant Sony, which is seeking to tap the lucrative medical equipment market.

Olympus shares fell 0.95 percent to 3,095 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday as the benchmark Nikkei index lost 1.40 per cent.

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