* Comments follow report that Panasonic to invest $630 mln
* Olympus shareholders' equity a mere 4.6 pct
* Olympus share price gives up gains after president's
(Adds Panasonic president quotes)
By Tim Kelly
TOKYO, June 7 Japanese electronics maker
Panasonic Corp has no plan to invest in Olympus Corp
, President Fumio Ohtsubo told Reuters on Thursday,
contradicting a media report it would invest in the medical
equipment maker Olympus, which is struggling to recover from an
Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday that Panasonic was
making final arrangements to provide up to 50 billion yen ($630
million) in capital to Olympus.
"I don't know where that information came from, not from
us," Ohtsubo said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Japan
Electrical Manufacturers' Association. "There isn't any," he
said when asked if Panasonic had a plan to invest in Olympus.
Olympus last year admitted it used improper accounting to
conceal huge investment losses under a scheme that began in the
1990s, after sacked British CEO Michael Woodford raised concerns
in October about dubious book-keeping.
Shareholders' equity in Olympus is now 4.6 percent of its
total assets as of the end of March, far below the 20 percent
level widely regarded as indicative of financial stability for a
company, spurring speculation the endoscope maker will seek a
capital injection in return for stock.
To mend its dented balance sheet, the firm has considered
bringing in a strategic investor, with Sony Corp,
Fujifilm Holdings Corp and Terumo Corp, and
Panasonic identified as possible candidates.
While Panasonic is interested in expanding its own
healthcare business in a bid to tap a growing market, the
company, which posted a record net loss in the year ended March
31, may balk at making a large financial commitment as it counts
the cost of restructuring other units.
Olympus shares, which surged to as high as 1,380 yen earlier
in the day, were 1.6 percent higher at 1,360 yen in afternoon
($1 = 79.0800 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Tim Kelly, Writing by Yoko Kubota and Ayai
Tomisawa; Editing by Michael Watson, Edwina Gibbs and Michael