Scandal-hit Olympus is preparing to issue around $1.3 billion in new shares after correcting its financial books to reflect massive losses it had hidden for two decades, a report said Tuesday.
The major medical and optical equipment manufacturer is believed to be considering an issue of around 100-billion-yen's worth of non-voting preferred shares convertible into common stock down the road, the Nikkei newspaper said.
Sony, Fujifilm and Panasonic have shown interest in buying some of the stock, as they look to enter or bolster their presence in the medical equipment market, the business daily said.
Siemens AG might also take up the offer because of possible synergies in the medical field, it added.
But the size of the capital increase and the lineup of investors might change depending on whether Olympus is allowed to stay on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the newspaper said.
The bourse is still analysing whether the company is fit to stay listed, after it admitted hiding at least 134.9 billion yen in investment losses since the 1990s.
Details of the new-share issuance are expected to be finalised as early as next month to have them ready by the next shareholders' meeting, which could be held as early as March or April, the Nikkei said.
The company's top managers used a complicated mix of acquisition deals and consultant fees to cover up the investment losses.
But things began to fall apart when the firm's first non-Japanese chief executive Michael Woodford blew the whistle in the international press, prompting investigations by Japanese, British and US authorities.
Olympus revised past earnings following its admission about the loss cover-up, leaving its balance sheet looking thin and the company in need of a capital injection.
The change reduced its capital ratio to 4.5 percent from slightly more than 15 percent before the correction.
Woodford and some major shareholders have voiced their opposition to a share issue, which would ultimately dilute value for existing shareholders.
Shares in Olympus were trading up 13 percent at 1,031 yen on Tuesday morning, despite the report, with analysts saying a probable new equity issue has long been factored in by the market.