Olympus has issued an official statement in hopes of putting to rest once and for all rumors that the company is considering selling or shutting down its sputtering camera business.
Rumors began swirling earlier this month that Olympus was planning to shut down its Imaging division, which bleeds money for the company and which just saw a 17% year-over-year decline in revenue. Olympus quickly issued a statement refuting those reports.
Bloomberg then stirred up the pot once more a few days later by reporting that Olympus CEO Yasuo Takeuchi backtracked on past comments that Olympus was not for sale.
Olympus has now issued a new statement to Photofocus clarifying that it currently has no plans to either shutter or sell its camera biz:
As announced in our Corporate Strategy, Olympus is further focusing on our Medical business and follows the strong ambition for all of our businesses to be profitable and contribute to our overall business objectives. In that regard, we are continuously evaluating our overall portfolio, as announced in our Corporate Strategy on November 6, 2019.
For Imaging, however, we currently have no plans to sell the business. The task is therefore to stabilize and strengthen its market position. To achieve that, we are actively running marketing activities, and have already established a clear and exciting product roadmap for the coming months and years. We are actively pursuing future technology developments that will enhance photography and video for creators. Furthermore, Imaging is and will continue to be an important technology and innovation driver for our other businesses.
Our Imaging business features a unique product portfolio. Olympus products are compact and lightweight, feature market leading image stabilization and autofocus. Many of our high-end products are also splash-proof. No other product offers customers this level of optical excellence paired with the highest mobility.
Just last month we launched our new OM-D E-M5 Mark III – a light yet feature packed addition to our semi-pro camera portfolio, inheriting pro-features like a high precision AF from our OM-D E-M1 Mark II model. Furthermore, we have announced the development of M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO earlier this year to be launched by next year. Customers can follow our break-free campaign on various channels and worldwide.
Olympus states that the camera business is “an important technology and innovation driver for our other businesses,” including its critical medical business. Olympus is a public company, though, so it remains to be seen whether shareholders will continue to accept the explanation that the unprofitable consumer camera division is essentially an important R&D arm for the company as a whole.