By Mariko Yasu
April 20, 2012
Olympus Corp. (7733) won shareholders’ approval for new management headed by former banker Yasuyuki Kimoto, a step toward putting behind an accounting fraud that wiped $4.2 billion off its market value.
The Japanese camera maker gained the most in almost three months in Tokyo trading after shareholders elected 11 directors, including Kimoto, who is a former executive at main lender Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316), and Hiroyuki Sasa, who headed the company’s medical systems marketing unit. The new board appointed Kimoto as chairman and named Sasa president.
The world’s largest endoscope maker has lost almost half its market value since dismissing then-President Michael Woodford on Oct. 14, after he questioned inflated fees paid to advisory firms for takeovers. Overseas shareholders including Southeastern Asset Management Inc. called for more independent board nominees, saying some have conflicts of interest because of their ties to Olympus creditors.
“The approval is positive since all events related to instability of management will be solved,” said Kenichi Hirano, general manager and strategist at Tachibana Securities Co. in Tokyo. Still, “it is difficult to expect a continuous gain in shares as investors will start to look at fundamentals.”
Olympus rose 6.4 percent, the most since Jan. 23, to 1,286 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo. The shares have gained 27 percent this year, after plunging 59 percent last year.