Tokyo, Japan—On September 30, 2020, Olympus Corporation concluded a definitive agreement with Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (JIP) regarding its Imaging business.
Olympus will transfer its Imaging business to a newly established wholly owned subsidiary of Olympus (New Imaging Company); it will do so through an absorption-type split. Moreover, 95% of the shares of the New Imaging Company will transfer on January 1, 2021, to OJ Holdings, Ltd.
OJ Holdings, a special purpose company established by JIP, will have headquarters in Hachioji, Tokyo. Moreover, Shigemi Sugimoto will act as its representative director. Its operations will involve the manufacture and sale of digital cameras (primarily mirrorless interchangeable–lens cameras); interchangeable lenses; IC recorders; as well as other audio products.
“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our customers for their patronage and support of Olympus products, and for their passion devoted to photography. I have the utmost confidence that this transfer is the correct step forward in sustaining the value of our products and services,” said Yasuo Takeuchi, president and CEO, Olympus Corporation.
Takeuchi added, “I am certain this opportunity is the best choice for our longtime patrons, new customers and photography enthusiasts. Under the new company, the development, manufacturing, sales and service functions will continue tight collaboration to introduce new products that will satisfy customers.”
Olympus began the manufacture and sale of cameras using the Zuiko lens in 1936; it became one of the world’s leading camera makers. Olympus was among the first companies to make small, lightweight compact cameras with professional quality. Its products included the Olympus OM and Pen series cameras.
“Driven by the desire to make people’s lives more fulfilling around the world, the company applied innovative technology and unique product development to distinguish itself in a highly competitive industry,” Olympus announced.
Olympus Inks Deal
In recent years, however, the market shrunk rapidly due to the evolution of smartphones. This in turn led to a significant downturn for the digital camera market globally. Despite taking various steps to improve its cost structure and efficiency, Olympus’s Imaging business recorded operating losses for three consecutive fiscal years up to March 2020.
Under such circumstances, Olympus concluded that, by carving out the Imaging business and operating the business under JIP, its business structure would become more compact, efficient and agile. The company believes this is the most appropriate way to realize self-sustainable and continuous growth.
“With a loyal following and long history of innovative products, the New Imaging Company would be committed to building on Olympus’s accumulated expertise; and continue providing customers with innovative, high–quality cameras under the new business structure,” the company added.
The agreement applies to Olympus’s global Imaging business. It includes all R&D as well as the manufacturing facilities currently dedicated to the business. What’s more, the new company will continue to provide products. Based on a foundation that includes the Zuiko and OM brands, the company will leverage optics and digital imaging technologies cultivated by Olympus over many years. As such, Olympus believes the new company will pursue new developments.
Furthermore, the heads of Sales and Marketing, R&D and the designing departments for imaging products will relocate to the headquarters of the New Imaging Company in Hachioji, Tokyo.
Production also will continue at the location in Dong Nai province, Vietnam, where imaging products are currently manufactured. The new company will also continue to provide customer support for the imaging products they manufactured and sold by Olympus.
Following the transfer of the Imaging business, Olympus will concentrate on medical and scientific solutions.