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More accounting troubles at Japan Inc…

Fujifilm Holdings said on Thursday that it will delay the release of its fourth-quarter earnings after it found accounting irregularities at its sales subsidiary in New Zealand.

The company has commissioned a three-member panel of outside lawyers and an accountant to investigate the issue. An internal probe has so far estimated that the issue could have a cumulative impact of about ¥22bn ($202m) on the group’s net profit over the past few years.

In compiling its accounts for the fiscal year that ended in March, Fujifilm said it found a need to look into accounting done by its New Zealand subsidiary regarding sales leasing contracts for its equipment prior to the 2015-2016 financial year.

Fujifilm said its subsidiary had taken measures to address the accounting irregularities, which first came to light in 2015. But the company revisited the issue in November after the problem resurfaced in local media reports in September.

The company did not disclose a new date for releasing its earnings, saying the outside panel is expected to compile its report by the end of May.

The delay at Fujifilm comes after Japanese industrial conglomerate Toshiba twice missed its deadline to submit third-quarter results following questions on accounting regarding a 2015 deal carried out by its US nuclear unit Westinghouse, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

Fujifilm, the former arch-rival of Eastman Kodak, has been touted for its corporate makeover efforts that began when its analogue film business crumbled with the advent of the digital age. To cushion the fall of its photo film sales, the group branched out into pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to diversify its revenue base.

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