Olympus Corporation, the Japanese stalwart in imaging, struck by a financial crisis over the last few years, has taken yet another step to improving its financial health. It announced, two days ago, its offer to sell 32 million new shares (share value 2,926 yen) and 4 million existing treasury shares of common stock outside Japan. Olympus intends to grant the managers of the offering an option to purchase up to an additional 5 million shares of common stock in connection with over-allotments, if any. The planned financing amount of the new share offering is 118.107 billion yen.
Kenichiro Mori, managing director, Olympus Imaging India, says, "We look to further our growth strategy using this influx of capital, including further strengthening of the medical division as well as improving our financial health." The investment would be on medical product manufacturing and R&D in Japan and promotion of new medical equipment. The balance would be used to pay off long-term debt over the next three years.
Olympus also has a sizeable presence in specialised medical equipment, and in India, Mori claims a share of 70-80 per cent in endoscopy equipment. The investments come at a time when the company is shoring up its focus on international markets, especially developing economies such as India. Company officials refused to confirm the portion of new investment expected to be channelled to the India arm.
While present through the grey market for decades, Olympus started marketing its cameras and lenses over a year ago and lays claim to a share of 3 per cent in compact cameras in the 3.3. million units (Rs 2000-crore) point-and-shoot segment. However, it is yet to wedge a strong toehold in DSLRs (more than 0.17 million units but worth Rs 2,000 crore, which has been growing the fastest at 50 per cent year-on-year, and the mirrorless segment, which it has pioneered, in this market. Sony, Nikon and Canon are the top players in cameras. Mori says the company will look to invest in high-end compact cameras and mirrorless cameras in India too.
Specifically for the Indian market, it will up the ante on creating a community of Olympus users.
This month it kicked off a 'share and explore' page on its website to bring users to interact with the brand and with each other by uploading images clicked with its cameras. "Usually, customers and the manufacturer are far away. We will continue to bring them closer," says Mori. It recently signed on digital agency Ethinos to further the connect through online communication and community-building efforts.
Olympus is also working on its distribution in India, signing up new partners in the western region. From July onwards, it will turn to the other zones as well though distributors and large retail chains.