Japan's Olympus says on track to meet December 14 deadline

TOKYO Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:35pm EST

The Olympus logo on its camera is seen in this illustrative photograph taken in Tokyo November 24, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The Olympus logo on its camera is seen in this illustrative photograph taken in Tokyo November 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's disgraced Olympus Corp sought to reassure investors on Wednesday that it would meet a December 14 deadline to iron out its accounts, as its shares briefly sank on concerns that it could fail to do so and be delisted as a result.

The maker of cameras and medical equipment, hit by one of Japan's worst accounting scandals, is racing to produce its second-quarter results by the deadline, despite admitting to accounting tricks and cover-ups dating back two decades.

"We plan to submit by December 14 our second-quarter report and are preparing for that," Olympus spokeswoman Saori Yamazaki said. She did not elaborate.

Olympus shares, which have lost more than half their value since the scandal broke in mid-October, fell heavily in early trade on Wednesday, after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company might have trouble meeting the deadline.

The shares lost as much as 13 percent on the report, but regained ground after the Olympus statement. In late morning trade, they fetched about 984 yen, down 2 percent.

Olympus, which has been publicly traded since 1949, will be automatically dumped from the market if it misses the Tokyo Stock Exchange's reporting deadline, a humiliation that would effectively cut it off from equity capital markets and put it under pressure to sell off its core businesses.

Even if it meets the deadline, the exchange could still delist Olympus, depending on the scale of past misstatements or if a link were to be found to "yakuza" gangsters.

A third-party panel appointed by Olympus to look into the accounting scam said last week that it had not yet found any evidence of involvement by organized crime. The panel's findings are due to be published in early December.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

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