Terumo files damages suit against Olympus

August 01, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Terumo Corp. said July 31 it had filed a lawsuit against Olympus Corp., seeking damages for plunging stock value following revelations of a cover-up of losses at the company.

Terumo, a medical equipment maker and a shareholder of Olympus, is apparently hoping to take advantage in alliance negotiations with optical equipment maker Olympus. Terumo said July 26 it had proposed a management integration to Olympus.

It filed the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court.

Olympus, which holds the largest share in the global medical endoscope market, is in final negotiations with Sony Corp. for a capital and business tie-up.

Terumo is apparently trying to drive a wedge in the negotiations between Olympus and Sony. It disclosed the legal action during a news conference to announce financial results for the April-June period.

Terumo officials withheld details of the lawsuit, but sources close to the company said it was seeking about 6 billion yen ($77 million) in damages.

In response to Terumo's disclosure, a senior Olympus official said, "(Terumo) is effectively threatening us to accept the management integration proposal if we are unhappy with the lawsuit."

Terumo tied up with Olympus in the medical field in August 2005. Its Olympus shares were worth around 15 billion yen at the time.

Olympus shares plunged in November after the cover-up of losses came to light. In January, Terumo posted an extraordinary loss of 8.2 billion yen.

At Terumo's news conference on July 31, Shoji Hatano, senior executive officer, suggested the company would not have taken legal action if the management integration talks with Olympus had been proceeding smoothly.

"A number of options, other than filing a lawsuit, could have been considered," he said.

As for taking hostile acquisition measures, such as a public tender offer, "We are not considering them for now," Hatano said.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Olympus Corp.'s share price falls sharply in November. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Olympus Corp.'s share price falls sharply in November. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Olympus Corp.'s share price falls sharply in November. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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