Olympus is poised to cut 4,000 jobs from its worldwide imaging business as part of a restructuring package designed to return the company to profitability.

The company?s Imaging Systems Business workforce will be cut from 14,000 to 10,000 globally ? representing a loss of around 30% of its employees.

Current indications are that the job cuts will only affect employees in the Far East.

Olympus?s imaging division made an operating loss of 23.8 billion yen (around £120m) for the year to 31 March 2005.

The company admits that it has struggled with ?intense price competition in the digital camera market?.

Most of the cuts will take place at two digital camera factories in China, where the company has moved much of its digital camera production over recent years.

Responding to the announcement, a spokesman for Olympus UK said: ?The global restructuring? will enable Olympus to respond to market demand quicker and more efficiently. Consumers in the UK will benefit from this global change, as will those in our many other markets.?

Olympus as a whole announced a net loss of 11.83 billion yen (about £60m) ? the group?s first consolidated net loss.

The company?s president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa called on the company to ?redouble its efforts at recovery? and ?push through a drastic reform?.

The company was not able to provide specific details on how UK customers would benefit from the restructuring.

The company plans to complete the job cuts by the end of September and save 3 billion yen.

Olympus?s imaging division incorporates film and digital cameras plus associated accessories and voice recorders.