Tue, Dec 13, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Olympus ex-CEO to meet Japan’s governing party

LOOKING FOR ADVICE:Michael Woodford’s Japan visit comes as Olympus seeks to release its earnings to avoid being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange

Reuters and Bloomberg, TOKYO

Olympus Corp’s ousted CEO, Michael Woodford, on Thursday will meet a panel of lawmakers from Japan’s ruling Democratic Party looking at ways to tighten corporate governance in the wake of the accounting scandal at the endoscope maker, a source familiar with the plan said.

Woodford may also meet lawmakers from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, the source said yesterday on condition he wasn’t identified.

Woodford, who is scheduled to arrive in Japan tonight and leave on Friday morning, plans to meet investors and candidates for directors as part of his bid to remove the board of the company.

EARNINGS

His visit comes as Olympus prepares to release its earnings before tomorrow’s deadline to avoid being delisted by the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Shares of Olympus surged in Tokyo after the scandal-hit company said it won’t miss the deadline. The optical equipment maker rose 7.8 percent in Tokyo. The benchmark 225 Stock Average advanced 1.4 percent.

Olympus said in a faxed statement that “plans for submitting a second-quarter earnings report by Dec. 14 are going forward,” and the company said it would hold a press conference on Thursday at noon in Tokyo. Tokyo Stock Exchange rules require that the company be delisted if it does not report by Dec. 14.

Meanwhile, an Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC committee will determine whether there were auditing problems or lapses in judgment in its probe on the coverup of a US$1.7 billion fraud at Olympus.

INVESTIGATION

ShinNihon said on Thursday that it formed a committee to investigate its audit of Olympus.

“We will look into whether there were problems in the accounting process for acquisitions and also judgments made in auditing,” Toshifumi Takada, a panel member and economics professor at Tohoku University in Miyagi, said at a briefing in Tokyo yesterday.

Olympus is investigating about 70 executives to answer queries over losses and transactions for acquisitions, including US$687 million in payments to advisers in the purchase of Gyrus Group PLC in 2008 and stake writedowns in three other takeovers.

COVER-UP EXPOSED

The camera maker set up a special panel last month to conduct a probe after Woodford revealed the cover-up costing ¥135 billion (US$1.7 billion).

The ShinNihon committee plans to ask KPMG Azsa LLC to cooperate with its probe, lawyer and committee member Nobuo Gohara said. The committee intends to release an interim report by Dec. 31 and a full account by the end of February, he said.

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