Olympus has concluded its agreement with Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) regarding the transfer of its Imaging business, which produces and markets Olympus cameras, lenses and accessories. Under the agreement, 95% of the shares of the old Olympus imaging business will be transferred to JIP. The name of the new imaging business will be OM Digital Solutions Corporation, and it will be based in Hachioji, Tokyo. Production will continue at the current Olympus manufacturing based in Vietnam, and OM Digital Solutions will continue to provide customer support for cameras, lenses and accessories. manufactured and sold by Olympus. Following the transfer, Olympus will concentrate on its medical and scientific business, which it sees as more profitable in the long term.
“In recent years… the market has shrunk rapidly due to the evolution of smartphones, leading to a significant downturn for the digital camera market globally,” Olympus explained in a statement. “Despite taking various steps to improve its cost structure and efficiency, Olympus’ 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, and it is the most appropriate way to realize self-sustainable and continuous growth.”Not much more specific information is available at this stage, but there were some reassuring noises being made in a subsequent Olympus Q and A. “There are no plans to change our product launch plans within 2020. Products that have been announced as under development will be introduced to the market as planned.” This presumably includes the 150-400mm f/4.5 Pro lens, which is eagerly awaited by sports and wildlife photographers. Olympus did not comment on future development plans around Micro Four Thirds but confirmed that the transfer is not expected to affect Olympus’ service and repair operations.
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