It would be an understatement to say that Olympus has had quite a year.
But now that the Japanese conglomerate has finished spinning off its imaging division, we’re getting a better look at just how bad Olympus has fared over the past several years.
Previously it was reported that Olympus lost some $USD 1.2 billion on its imaging division. Now that the company is wrapping everything up with that, they’ve tacked on another $USD 500 million representing an additional loss for 2021.
Photo Rumors quotes Olympus’ latest report, ““We expect to record a loss for the current fiscal year due to expenses related to the divestiture of the Imaging business…Total loss of ¥5.5 billion is expected due to the loss associated with the divestiture of the Imaging Business.”
Outside of that, Olympus also detailed how they’re going about prepping the imaging division for a spin-off. Employee numbers in Japan were cut by some 30% and capital expenditures fell by half during that same period (March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020). Research and development expenses also fell by 30%.
The back-and-forth drama about whether or not Olympus would actually withdraw from the camera market was a constant feature of this blog a few months back and, once the inevitable was finally announced, it’s been somewhat anticlimactic since. That’s probably because Olympus’ problems are not unique. If you’ve missed our reporting on the issues facing the camera industry, you can check them out here.
What do you think of Olympus’ spin-off of its imaging division? Were you a fan of the company’s products? How do you feel about the future of Olympus’ former division? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below if you like.
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It’s a sad state of affairs but is reflective of the current swing towards instant photographic gratification, which I’m afraid most people will realise via their mobile phones.
I remember my Father’s Olympus Trip back in the 1970’s and I have always preferred the Olympus ‘small’ form factor, which unfortunately was their failure in the end, with most enthusiasts preferring larger sensor sizes to micro four thirds; a sensor to which Olympus remained loyal, even when things were so obviously unraveling for them, financially!
Let’s hope that the Olympus legacy can continue, even under a different name and ownership.
Perhaps a good starting point, would be for them to concentrate on camera’s, which focus on stills photography, eschewing the industry trend towards hybrid camera’s, which to me, bestow a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ product approach, in an attempt to attract two completely different consumer pools.
Also, please bring back the PEN F! For me, this is the camera style that defines Olympus, with its alternative approach to the Rangefinder camera genre.
I for one will continue to use my trusty Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3, which still produces amazing photographs and let’s not forget that composition rules above all else, albeit I would be very tempted by a new PEN-F with a focus on stills photography!
I for one, will not be giving up on the small form factor, which I still believe deserves to be considered, if for no other reason than allowing photographers to transport lighter kit to remote destinations around the globe.
Thank you for your comment Neil! It was awesome to read about your history with Olympus.
The US$ is around ¥100, so ¥5.5B represents US$50M, not 500M. Still a loss, but not so extreme.
Thank you for that clarification! 🙂