Unraveling Olympus’s Unusual Acquisitions to Hide Company Losses

Unraveling Olympus’s Unusual Acquisitions to Hide Company Losses
Yomiuri Shimbun: オリンパス損失隠し、破格の買収額の経緯解明へ
2:34 PM November 10, 2011

Optical instrument heavyweight Olympus, which bought three unrelated companies in an attempt to hide company losses, studied a Tokyo CPA’s estimates of the values of three domestic companies it was buying, then purchased the companies for prices much different than those estimates.

According to Securities and Exchange Commission investigators, it’s possible that the CPA’s estimates were artifically high, so it is working to clarify the accountant’s methods.

Between 2006 to 2008, Olympus purchased recycling company Altis, cookware receptacle manufacturer and dealer News Chef, and health food dealer Humalabo (all based in Minato-ku, Tokyo). Parts of the declared purchase payments were paid back to Olympus to offset losses on securities and investments which it had been carrying on its ledger since as long ago as 1990.

According to sources in the company, in both 2006 and 2008, the company requested assessments of the three companies from a certified public accountant’s office. The 2008 assessment priced Altis at 33.5-47 billion yen, News Chef at ¥33.6-38.3 billion, and Humalabo at ¥29.8-39.3 billion.

The actual prices Olympus paid for the companies were ¥28.8 billion, ¥21.4 billion, and ¥23.1 billion, respectively, for a total of ¥73.4 billion. Each purchase price was lower than the CPA’s assessment, an apparent discount.

In its March 2009 quarterly report immediately after the purchases, however, the company declared total asset losses of ¥55.7 billion, over 70% of the total paid out for the companies. The annual revenue for the three companies combined in 2008 was ¥5.4 billion. Olympus publicly estimated it would increase their annual revenue to ¥89.1 billion by 2012, but in 2011 the companies’ revenues were holding at ¥6.5 billion.

The company consulted the accountants’ estimates, but since the actual prices were so different, the oversight committee is suspicious of the CPA’s work and is investigating.

Olympus paid for the three companies by depositing money into several offshore investment funds. Afterward, some of this money is thought to have flowed back to the company to help it hide other losses.

Olympus’s public relations committee says it is “looking forward to the result of the third party investigation.” This newspaper requested an interview with a representative for the CPA’s office, but no one had responded as of the 9th.




 オリンパスは2006年~08年、資源リサイクル会社「アルティス」(東京都港区)と調理容器製造販売会社「NEWS CHEF」(同)、健康食品販売会社「ヒューマラボ」(同)の3社を買収。これらの買収資金の一部は、オリンパスが1990年代から抱えていた有価証券投資などの失敗による損失穴埋めに流用されたことが分かっている。







(2011年11月10日14時34分 読売新聞)

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