Olympus financial results for 2012 fiscal year

Started May 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Eamon Hickey
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,103
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also, mirrorless profitability revealed
In reply to MichaelKJ, May 19, 2013

Michael, this isn't directly on-topic for your post, but since it concerns a topic that comes up very often on this forum, with lots of people claiming to know that Olympus is making tons of money on PEN/OM-D, I thought I'd add it to your post, if you don't mind. I don't think we've ever had an official answer before.

The answer to whether Olympus's mirrorless lineup is profitable is buried deep within the audio presentation that Olympus made on their fiscal year 2013 results (i.e. their most recent annual reporting period, which ended March 31, 2013 and includes most of calendar year 2012).

Olympus's mirrorless business was not profitable; it was "almost" break-even, but "maybe" (likely) a "little bit" loss-making. (I say likely because of the wording of the answer, which is below.) I've copied and pasted the information below from another post I just made on a different forum; I hope folks will forgive the repeat.

The statement occurs in the Q&A section of the audio presentation; it's in response to about the fourth or fifth question asked. The questioner directly asks: what was the profitability of mirrorless?

It's unclear whether the answer comes from Sasa (Olympus President) or Ogawa (Olympus Head of Imaging) because the translator doesn't identify the person who gives the answer. But his exact words (as translated into English by Olympus's translator are):

"From a total perspective, it was almost break-even, maybe a little bit of shortfall."

I note that "little bit" is open to some interpretation -- the Olympus executives participating in this presentation are all on the defensive about the Imaging Division. It's clear that there is significant shareholder (and probably some faction within the board of directors) pressure to close the whole division down. So "little bit" might be a percentage point or two, but I wouldn't be surprised if the speaker was stretching the definition of "little bit" a ... well, little bit No way to know, of course, but I found his lack of specificity notable.

The audio presentation can be listened to in whole or by section. Anybody who wants to check this can save themselves some time by listening to only the Question-and-Answer Session, which is clickable in the "Index" section on this page:

http://www.c-hotline.net/Viewer/Default/OLYM5d87987a66e557d8fa7f5e41719af874

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